Pirates Discussion: Health of Starters

The Pittsburgh Pirates have had five pitchers — including Jose Quintana — start 83% (92 of 111) of their games so far.

  • JT Brubaker – 21 starts
  • Jose Quintana – 20 starts
  • Mitch Keller – 20 starts
  • Zach Thompson – 19 starts
  • Bryse Wilson – 12 starts

For comparison, in 2021 the top five pitchers in starts only accounted for 64% (104 of 162) of the starts.

  • Wil Crowe – 25 starts
  • JT Brubaker – 24 starts
  • Mitch Keller – 23 starts
  • Tyler Anderson – 18 starts
  • Chad Kuhl – 14 starts

As has been mentioned lately, it appears that we are finally seeing some pitchers turn a corner under Oscar Marin’s tutelage. JT Brubaker has ran into a bit of a rough patch lately, as has Zach Thompson. Between the four of the five remaining after the trade of Quintana, they would only need 13 more starts to surpass the 2021 total.

Pitcher health has been a rising issue over the years as training regimens have drastically changed. Unfortunately pitcher health as a whole across the league hasn’t necessarily seen a positive benefit under those changes.

The Pirates though have managed to maintain a rather clean bill of health among their starters.

Pirates @ Diamondbacks

Time: 3:40 PM EST

Pirates Starter: JT Brubaker (2-10, 4.49)

OPPONENT Starter: Merrill Kelly (10-5, 2.86)

Brubaker Notes: JT Brubaker briefly lowered his ERA below four in July but has since ran into some trouble. In his last two starts, Brubaker has given up 10 earned runs through a combined 8.1 IP. The positive news is that he’s also accrued 10 K’s to only 2 BB’s over those two starts. This will be his 22nd start of the season.

LINEUPS:

Pirates

Diamondbacks

1. Alek Thomas (L) CF
2. Emmanuel Rivera (R) 3B
3. Josh Rojas (L) DH
4. Christian Walker (R) 1B
5. Daulton Varsho (L) RF
6. Carson Kelly (R) C
7. Jordan Luplow (R) LF
8. Sergio Alcantara (S) 2B
9. Geraldo Perdomo (S) SS

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Cobra

I thought this was the bridge year where we were supposed to look respectable transitioning into a competitive team in ’23? Or I forget maybe it was ’24 where we begin to get ready for a competitive team for ’25? Or did Ben say maybe we are looking at wild card berth at some point prior to shore erosion and/or nuclear fallout wipes out the entirety of PNC park ? I can’t keep up with the timelines

NMR

They’re using the big club as a farm team, and you’re all begging them to do it to an even greater extreme. Of course they’re gonna be shitty!

Plenty has gone right this year:
-Bryan Reynolds stabilized as an above average player, as has KBryan
-Kevin Newman established himself as an extremely useful role player
-Jack Suwinski will be the big half of an outfield platoon for the next half decade
-Mitch Keller, finally!!
-BRU bounced back and solidified himself as a good #4
-Roansy shows he belongs
-Bednar hangs out in elite reliever crowds
-Quintana provides hope with their first successful reclamation project

That’s all good stuff!

It just gets overwhelmed when you’re literally using the rest of the roster to fuck around and find out with a dozen middling prospects who should probably still be in AAA. You’re not gonna win big league games by developing talent this way, it just isn’t gonna happen. The competition is too damn good to waste more than a roster spot or two on scholarships.

The future is brighter than it looks, they just have to start acting like a Major League franchise and not the league’s farm system.

mikeschalke

I think the nuclear fallout scenario has the best chance of happening.

emjayinTN

82-79 in 2018 was our last winning season. Then a 69-93 .426 winning percentage (wp) in 2019 got the Manager and GM fired. Since then Cherrington and Shelton have provided a 19-41, .317 wp in ’20, a 61-101, .377 wp in ’21, and with only 50 games left, a 45-67, .402 wp record in ’22.

The Pirates unloaded some tradeable guys at the trading deadline, and got some decent players in return who will help immediately. But we are still carrying a lot of deadwood (IMO), such as Underwood, Newman, Allen, VanMeter, Gamel, and Chavis, all of which will be in Arb at the end of 2022 except for Gamel who will be a FA. That’s 6 openings on the 40 and a lot of guys waiting for those openings in the top two levels of the minors.

Getting 6 replacements up for the last 50 games will provide much needed exposure at the MLB level, and a valuable learning experience to carry into the off-season and then into ST 2023. It would also be the time to cut the Manager Derek Shelton, and promote Don Kelly to Acting Manager for the remainder of 2022.

TNBucs

I suppose we could make a giant leap like the O’s are doing this year, but teams hardly ever go from being bad to contending within a year. The 2011 and 2012 Pirates hung in the race until the deadline and even though they collapsed each year, we enjoyed sustained stretches of good play over the first four months and you knew they were on the verge. That’s what I was hoping for at some point this year, but I think our best 10-game stretch is only 6-4 and that that has only happened once. I.e., whereas the 2011 and 2012 Pirates were above .500 well into July, we’ve only had a single 10-game stretch of being above .500. We seem to be more than two years away from contending.

docdon385

Have to start wondering if the Pirate brass don’t want us watching this team play anymore. The ridiculously bad lineup they consistently throw out there with players who have no future with this or any other major league team and their lack of even trying to do anything to fix it make you think they just flat don’t care about the team or about the fans. Cherington can talk all he wants but you can’t develop a winning team and attitude by not caring.

This shite is hard to watch! The starting lineup today had four guys hitting below .200. That’s outrageous. It’s embarrassing and demoralizing for me so it has to be for the few decent players they have.

Wilbur Miller

I’m not sure there’s much that can be done about the lineup. They could get rid of VM, obviously, but Shelton made clear yesterday that he’s staying strictly for sentimental reasons. When you know you’re not subject to any accountability, you can do nonsense like that.

Other than VM, though, that’s pretty much the lineup they should be playing. (And he hasn’t played much, which makes you wonder why all of a sudden he’s been Ciriaco’d. He was a minor league player when he was the regular secondbaseman against RHPs, and he’s a minor league player now. Why did he have to play regularly then but can hardly play at all now?) Godoy has no business in the majors, but that’s where BC’s incompetence in finding catchers has left them. There’s no short-term answer. Madris is probably struggling his way off the roster when fall comes, but there’s no particular reason not to play him now. Shelton’s notion that Gamel is the one guy who absolutely, positively has to be in there every single day is foolish, but he is one of their best hitters right now, as pathetic as that may be.

The broader question is whether they’re wrecking every single hitter who walks into their locker room. Until they address the question of why putting on a Pirate jersey turns every hitter into Ivan Nova, the Daily Dumbo Drop is always going to look like sh*t.

AdministrativeSky236

What was the comment of sentimental reasons? I missed it

Wilbur Miller

He said they were keeping VM around because he’s good in the clubhouse. Didn’t say anything about contributions on the field.

skliesen

Just think how bad the teams record would be without the veteranosity of JVM in the clubhouse.

Wilbur Miller

The most absurd part is that Gamel, Newman, Reynolds and Chavis all have more service time than VM. Does a player have to be shitty to count for veteranosity?

skliesen

Chalk another loss up to Shelton piss poor ability to manage the bullpen. Is there a worse Manager in MLB?

docdon385

Let me think……..uh, NO!

bucsws2014

So happy I tuned in just in time for the implosion.

PirateRican21

They continue to bring in Yerry with people on base and he continues to fail to keep them there, he’s not a strike out guy, to much contact with the defense he has behind him.

Catch_22

Not sure defense had much to do with his outing. 3 bb’s and the one off the wall was a grand slam in 29 parks

PirateRican21

Like you wrote, not this outing. My point was a rookie ground ball pitcher in a critical situation with men on base.

skliesen

Hayes was not a gold glove defender on that 2-run go ahead double. Tough inning for him.

skliesen

Shelton keeps losing winnable games by insisting on using RP’s for multiple innings and then being slow to get another reliever ready when it’s clear a new Pitcher is needed. Banuelos should’ve been called on to face lefty.

TNBucs

Love Hayes, but he should have beat that out.

slider1971

Completely agree- looked like he slowed down 2 steps before the bag. In fairness, first time I have seen that from him

patrick_kelly

Hey! Not only are notifications and gifs back, but new comments come up without having to refresh!

1979andCounting

Not for me, still have to refresh

PirateRican21

Arizona’s play by play guy calling the Pirate’s bullpen an Island of misfit toys!

1979andCounting

Pretty sure the BP is top 5 since A/S break. No respect.

PirateRican21

Not today

1979andCounting

Misfits they are

PirateRican21

  :wpds_sad: 

PirateRican21

Godoy making me miss Michael Perez

HeyFred

Jack Wilson on the air….more Jack Wilson highlights please!

PirateRican21

Walker is supposed to be a good defender.

1979andCounting

After Bell, Moran, Yoshi……..no problem. We need his bat.

PirateRican21

Don’t have to convince me, I’ve been suggesting getting this guy for a while now, but not having a good series defensively

roibert.kasperski

LOL! Where have I seen Defense like the Dbacks just displayed?

1979andCounting

You sound like Keith Hernandez

roibert.kasperski

Will Craig getting duped by Baez LOL!

roibert.kasperski

PirateRican21

I was wondering if they were gonna challenge, looked out with out the slow mode.

PirateRican21

Boy was I wrong, Hayes even went back to touch the plate!

Wilbur Miller

Madris’ main problem is not defense at 1B.

skliesen

But he does have a good name for a Pirate. Captain Bligh screams Badass!

docdon385

How long is Madris gonna keep being awful and stay in Pittsburgh? He’s way worse offensively than Yoshi was. What in the world is he doing in the majors.

PirateRican21

I’m trying to figure out what Swaggerty did to warrant the way he is being treated, got called up, did not get into a game until like day 3, got less than a dozen at bats and now he’s the 5th guy in line…..

Wilbur Miller

Reynolds has a .546 OPS this year wRISP. It gets even worse if you look specifically at how he’s done with runners on third.

chappy

One of the major disappointments of this season. His season has been fits and starts, butting the atrocious hitting with RISP is a strong non-contribution to the offense. He is my favorite player so it has been lots of frustration rooting for him this year. He hit very well with RISP last year, so i hope this is just the story for him this year.

PirateRican21

The best way to speed up the game of baseball is to eliminate base stealing, not saying I’m for it, but the game comes to a excruciating pace with runners on. Make all leads standard and no throws to the bases, the catcher’s job will be reduced to calling and blocking balls, runners are free to advance on pass balls and wild pitches as they currently are.

Last edited 1 month ago by PirateRican21
Wilbur Miller

I still think the best way to speed things would be to outlaw batting gloves.

PirateRican21

Well, the time clock might take care of that!

PirateRican21

Pitch clock….

1979andCounting

JVM breaks up the no-no!

chappy

Oneil Cruz has base-running issues.

mpg43952

Start developing knuckleballers and junk ball pitchers!

joesolo6181

I don’t like today’s lineup.

Drufan11

I agree but almost entirely based on JVM. I’m at the point where I am seriously questioning myself, like I must be missing something. Otherwise he shouldn’t be in an MLB roster, let alone starting at 1st base.

MB21

This is the question I have been asking on this site for some time. How has limiting pitchers with pitch count and innings limits really benefited the health of pitchers? Where is the study that shows the facts of these impacts on pitchers’ health? On pitchers’ development? Is this simply an industry assumption or a theory based on evidentiary studies? (Where are the studies?)

I’m also beginning to question the emphasis on high velocity pitching. It seems that every pitcher these days hits the low to mid 90s (or more) but few of these pitchers know how to pitch! Does this emphasis on velocity itself harm the health of the pitchers? If not, then do innings limits and other limitations impact the ability of the pitcher to develop as a pitcher instead of a thrower? These are real issues, I think.

NMR

The human body is not meant to throw overhand, that much is scientific fact. Softball pitchers can basically throw as much and as hard as they can without much consequence.

The more repetition of the overhand movement, the higher chance of injury. This is also fact. Same applies to any kind of activity that causes wear and tear on the body.

The grey area is in the specific boundaries we put on the activity. Is there a magic number of pitches/innings for any individual, let alone collective? Probably not. For that reason, teams side with caution.

Similarly with velocity, the faster the pitch the less time a batter has to react. Less time to react means decisions must be made sooner. Sooner one has to decide, more opportunity for them to be wrong. Velo is unquestionably tied to success.

It’s not the only way to succeed, which I think is your point, but what your argument typically overlooks is just how insanely hard it is to develop the kind of precise command and pitch repertoire needed to succeed otherwise. Less effort, and less velo, is by no means a guarantee of better command.

RAS TN

Exactly…

1979andCounting

Off topic (but BC is always a topic), Tigers fired their GM Avila yesterday after 7 seasons and no postseason appearances. So there’s a low bar set by the Tigers that surely BN will be aware of. So we only have 4 more seasons of BC? Still, my concern is more about Nutting allowing BC to spend……..we’re getting closer to the whether the rubber meets the road. Avila was given the money to spend, but that doesn’t always translate to W’s.

hoffmark83

Not Pirate related but site related. Welcome back notification bell!

Tim Williams

Also, GIFs.

Last edited 1 month ago by Tim Williams
roibert.kasperski

tedwins

My god has Tyler Anderson been special this year, hope he maintains it, will be fun to see him in Free Agency over the winter…🤔

TNBucs

So we’re 2 for 2 in signing starters looking to bounce back and there are some interesting starters on this year’s FA list–who should we take a chance on?

https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2021/08/2022-23-mlb-free-agents.html

roibert.kasperski

Off the top of my head with no research done at all, I would say Boyd and Pineda maybe.

TNBucs

Pineda seems somewhat logical since he had a good year with Minnesota in Shelton’s last year there and, because he’s struggled so much this year, he’d be affordable. Boyd could be a good option. It seems like this year’s group lacks top-of-the-rotation starters that we can’t afford anyway but offers a lot of mid-rotation options with some likely to fall to our price range (though I hope BC is proactive and doesn’t wait to see who is left after the initial wave of signings).

One pitcher I’d love to see sign is Taillon–he’s had some struggles lately and if those continue, perhaps he’d be looking for a one-year deal to rebuild value. The jury is still out but there is some evidence that Marin can help pitchers get better.

1979andCounting

Taillon looking to rebuild value on a one year deal? He’s right on his career averages, having a good year just under 4.00 era. K’s are down, walks are down alot, 1.14 whip.

TNBucs

His season totals are good and as of now he’d be out of our price range, but he’s only earned 0.9 bWAR and if that continues to drop, then maybe?

docdon385

Indeed he has. Is it another example of a pitcher finding something when get gets to a team that knows what it’s doing? The Dodgers have a bunch of pitchers with low ERAs. Their team ERA is under 3 and Anderson’s part of that group so his 13-1 record isn’t just because the Dodgers score a lot of runs.

I wish we could hope for the Pirates to sign him again but the way he’s been pitching his value will certainly be a lot higher than when they got him out of the recycle bin a couple of years ago. Would he be the pitcher he is now if he’d stayed in Pittsburgh?

Chances are the Dodgers will resign him assuming they believe he can continue to pitch anywhere near the way he has been. Of course they can and will spend money to get whatever they want. If they see someone else they think might be better it’s possible he could hit the open market again. If BC is to retain or maybe gain any credibility for his talk, he will have to start spending on guys other teams want.

TNBucs

One guy they signed that I was advocating for going into FA (but the Dodgers snatched him up right away) was Andrew Heaney. He’s been hurt most of the season but is back and when he’s pitched, he’s pitched very well. Maybe he’d be an option this offseason. Durability would be a concern, but that’s also why he might be in our price range.

leefieux

‘Pitching health hasn’t seen a positive result under these changes’?? Color me shocked. Someone, somewhere decided that 100 pitches was the limit. WHO decided this? Pitchers used to get STRONGER as the game went on. Now they get weaker. Wow! What an improvement these new methods have created.

NMR

Pitchers from the era you’re referencing would get smoked by modern AA clubs, let alone big league teams.

roibert.kasperski

Back when we were kids and watched guys in the 70’s, most of the starters threw under 90 mph. If you had a guy who threw in the 90s he was throwing serious heat. Plus back then (this could be just selective memory) it seemed like guys did not start out throwing their hardest for a few innings. They worked up to it. Now they all seem to throw in the mid to upper 90’s from the first batter on. That, I think may be the biggest difference.

jon6er

Your comment made me think about when the radar gun use began in baseball and I found a nice article from 2012 by baseballnews.com writer Lou Pavlovich Jr.
Baseball’s Great Inventor Of All Time

The inventors name is Danny Litwhiler who passed in 2012 at age 95 and was a former mlb player in the 1940’s. While he didn’t invent the radar gun itself he was instrumental in developing the handheld battery operated version. It’s a good read.

leefieux

So why don’t they do it like they used to, then? It worked for years. Plus, you’d need less pitchers.

AdministrativeSky236

I think you would be hard pressed to make a successful staff out of guys that dont hit 90 regularly, but boy you could get a lot of 6+ ERA innings out of them!

RAS TN

You do not need to throw hard to be successful, in fact, I would guess that their many pitchers or I should say throwers that throw hard and can’t hit the side of a barn…

Just how many so-called pitchers have the Pirates churned thru over the years…way way too many and then traded away a real pitcher for that hope and a prayer…

Learn how to pitch and hit before you get to the major leagues…

leefieux

I’ mnot talking about that. Start the guys out throwing less hard then ramp up. Btw, is there any proof that we couldn’t stretch guys who throw hard in the minors BEFORE they get to the minors? Heck, they’re blowing out their arms even if we baby them!

RAS TN

The same can be said for hitting or lack of hitting…it’s just ridiculous…

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