First Pitch: A Look at the 2019 Bradenton Marauders Pitching Splits

After looking at the Altoona Curve pitching splits in yesterday’s First Pitch article and seeing some interesting, somewhat unexpected results, I decided to continue on to the other three clubs. When we looked at Bradenton’s hitting splits on Sunday, we saw that the results were all over the place, but the group’s average favored the home park. Did the pitchers see the same mixed bag of results, or were they more like the Altoona pitchers, who favored pitching at home by a somewhat large margin?

I used 40 innings as a cut-off here because anything lower would give you small sample sizes on the road and at home. There are 11 pitchers who qualified, led by Aaron Shortridge with 135.2 innings. The list below is organized by innings pitched and runs from Shortridge on down.

Aaron Shortridge – Shortridge had a 3.97 ERA at home and a 2.70 mark on the road. That’s despite slightly better WHIP/BAA numbers at home. The difference came in part from the home runs. He allowed nine at home and four on the road (in 17.2 more innings).

Max Kranick – It begins already, with a road split favored for Shortridge, and Kranick heavily favored home games. At home Kranick had a 3.38 ERA in 69.1 innings, with a .227 BAA and a 1.05 WHIP. On the road in 40 innings, he had a 4.50 ERA, a .276 BAA and a 1.43 WHIP

Gavin Wallace – Wallace retired over the off-season, but we can still look at his stats to get a better picture of the team results. He had a split similar to Kranick in the ERA department, but his WHIP/BAA was nearly identical in both places. Home: 3.26 ERA, 58 IP, .275 BAA, 1.33 WHIP. Road: 5.12 ERA, 51 IP, .288 BAA, 1.35 WHIP.

Nicholas Economos – Economos pitched at three levels last year, with most of his time coming in Bradenton. He pitched better on the road in nearly equal mound time home and away. He had a 3.05 ERA, .210 BAA, 0.99 WHIP in Bradenton, and 2.25 ERA, .188 BAA, 1.05 WHIP on the road. He had a higher walk rate on the road, a higher home run rate at home.

Hunter Stratton – Stratton had a huge split that favored the road, but his inning totals are one of the biggest splits I’ve seen. He pitched 49.2 innings at home, with a 5.26 ERA, .229 BAA and a 1.53 WHIP. He only pitched 22.1 innings on the road, with a 2.01 ERA, an 0.99 WHIP and a .163 BAA.

Brad Case – Case heavily favored home games, continuing the odd back and forth results here. In 36 innings in Bradenton, he had a 3.00 ERA, a .221 BAA and a 1.00 WHIP. In 35.1 road innings, he had a 5.60 ERA, .302 BAA and a 1.70 WHIP.

Domingo Robles – Robles heavily favored pitching at home in Altoona after he was promoted mid-season last year. His ERA favored Bradenton thanks to no homers, but my surprise over Hunter Stratton’s innings difference just took a backseat to Robles. He pitched 12 innings in Bradenton, 50 innings on the road. The home innings are really too small to even compare, but he had a 1.50 ERA at the ballpark formerly known as McKechnie Field, and 2.88 away from home. He actually had a much better BAA and WHIP on the road.

Cody Bolton – Bolton heavily favored pitching at home in Altoona after he was promoted mid-season last year. He pitched great both at home and on the road with Bradenton, with an advantage to the road stats. He had a 1.86 ERA, .183 BAA and an 0.93 WHIP at home. He had a 1.17 ERA, .159 BAA and an 0.74 WHIP on the road.

Samuel Reyes – Reyes pitched better on the road, with a 2.42 ERA in 26 innings, with a .238 BAA and a 1.19 WHIP. At home he had a 3.29 ERA in 27.1 innings, with a .220 BAA and a 1.17 WHIP.

Ike Schlabach – Schlabach nearly saw twice as much time on the road, while pitching better at home. His home stats: 2.12 ERA, 17 IP, .206 BAA, 0.82 WHIP. Road: 2.70 ERA, 33.1 IP, .254 BAA, 1.23 WHIP.

Joe Jacques – Jacques was basically the same in either situation, with a 2.21 ERA at home in 20.1 innings and a 2.61 mark on the road in 20.2 innings. The difference there is one more out and one more run on the road. He had a .213 BAA in both places, but a higher walk rate on the road led to a higher WHIP.

So Bradenton pitchers had the same crazy splits as the hitters. Some favored home, some favored road, almost no one was neutral. With the hitters as a group leaning towards home games, you would expect the opposite from pitchers. Of the 11 players here, five did better at home, six did better on the road. The big splits were also split between home and away, so the park played neutral for the pitchers as a group. However, they were far from predictable.

I’ll note one thing that may or may not mean anything. The three lefty pitchers here (Robles, Schlabach, Jacques) all did better at home, but they’re not huge differences. Oddy Nunez threw 34.2 innings total, so he wasn’t included up top, but if we’re looking for more data from lefties, he had almost an even split (4.63 to 4.70 ERAs).




1987 Pirates highlight video


By John Dreker

Only one former Pittsburgh Pirates player born on this date, and he played just one big league game. We also have a manager, who stuck around for six seasons and an impressive hitting feat from before the turn of the century.

The Player

Drew Rader, pitcher for the Pirates on July 18, 1921. Before he signed with the Pirates, he was a star pitcher for Syracuse University, claimed by some to be the best amateur pitcher around as a freshman. Prior to enrolling in college, Pittsburgh tried to sign the young pitcher, who was said to be equally strong at pitching with either hand, although he was known as “lefty”.  The Pirates upped the offer to Rader, asking him to leave school and join the team for Spring Training in 1921. He was with the Pirates for awhile before he finally got to pitch. He roomed with another rookie, Moses “Chief” Yellow Horse, a full-blooded American Indian. By early June, the two were said to be close friends.

Rader finally got into a game on July 18th, although it took a 12-1 deficit late in the game to actually get him off the end of the bench. He pitched two scoreless innings against the New York Giants that day, giving up a single in each frame. It would be the end of his Major League career and his career as a pro player was almost over as well. He only pitched one game in the minors in 1922 with the Reading Aces of the International League

The Manager

Horace Phillips, manager of the Pittsburgh Alleghenys from 1884 until 1889. He was a minor league player/manager during the first season (1877) that minor league ball existed. After two years in the minors, he got the job as manager of the Troy Trojans during their first season of existence in the National League. Troy was the worst team in the NL and after 47 games, Phillips lost his job to veteran third baseman Bob Ferguson, who did no better at the helm of the team. Troy finished 19-56 on the season. Phillips returned to the minors as a player/manager in 1880, then as just a player in 1881, his last year as an active player. He was a manager of a team in Philadelphia in 1882, when talk of forming a second Major League began. Horace was instrumental in getting the American Association off the ground, but when the first season started, he was without a job in the league. In 1883, Phillips managed the Columbus Buckeyes of the American Association to a sixth place finish, 1.5 games ahead of the Pittsburgh Alleghenys in the standings.

In 1884, Horace began the year managing in the minors. At the helm of a team from Grand Rapids, Michigan in the Northwestern League, he led them to a first place finish with a 48-13 record. At the same time, the Alleghenys were changing managers rapidly during their season, going through four, including the aforemented Bob Ferguson, before they hired Phillips to finish out the year. He went just 9-24 and the team finished in tenth place, but Pittsburgh chose to stick with him. The 1885 Alleghenys had a huge influx of talent and they were players familiar to Phillips. When the Columbus Buckeyes franchise folded after the 1884 season, Pittsburgh bought most of their players. The moved merged a 30-78 Pittsburgh team with a second place (69-39) Columbus team, making the Alleghenys an instant contender.

Phillips led the Alleghenys to a 56-55 finish in 1885, their first winning season in the franchise’s fourth year of existence. They would get much better the next year, finishing in second place with a record of 80-57, which helped lead to the team moving from the AA to the National League. Phillips remained at the helm of Pittsburgh for two more full seasons, leading the club to sixth place (out of eight teams) finishes each year. In 1889, he managed the club through the middle of July, but began making odd decisions off the field with his finances. He received a salary from the team and part of the profits, which amounted to a decent amount of money, but he began to spend money like someone who was much more wealthier. He was relieved of his managerial duties and sent back home. His doctor diagnosed him with paresis, brought on by overwork and said that Phillips has been in a slow decline for the last year. It was also said that his managerial career was over and that assessment was correct. Phillips was committed to an insane asylum and passed away in 1896.

The Hitter

On this date in 1896, Jake Stenzel collects six hits in one game for the Pirates. Pittsburgh had their bats working overtime against the Boston Beaneaters that day, collecting 27 hits and scoring twenty runs. The day after his big game, Stenzel collected another four hits, giving him 12 hits in 15 at-bats over a three-game span. Despite the streak and the fact he hit .361 on the season, Stenzel still finished second on the team in batting by .001 to Elmer “Mike” Smith. Stenzel would be traded away by the Pirates at the end of the season.

The mound opponent for the Pirates that day was Cozy Dolan, who would make just three more starts in his career. He returned to the majors in 1900 after a three year layoff and played another 798 games as a decent hitting outfielder. He is not to be confused with the Cozy Dolan that played outfield for the 1913 Pirates. A popular practice back in that era was to give players, with the same last name as an older player, that player’s nickname.

John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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