Do The Pirates Have Enough Pitching?

To my count the Pirates have 6 starters and 9 relievers who will almost assuredly see time in the majors this season. They also have the foursome of Owens, Locke, Wilson and Morris who will likely take some innings. Outside of those arms the rest of the work will likely fall to the players the Pirates signed on minor league contracts (Jo-Jo Reyes, Tim Wood, Daniel Cabrera, etc). Ideally the NRIs will get very little time in the majors but realisticly how much time will the Pirates need from this season? Also I must add in an average season a team throws 1450 innings (roughly 950-1000 innings should come from starters at a minimum). So that is the number we will try to cover. The 2011 and 3 year average totals include major league and minor league innings. However my projection and Bill James Projection only include major league innings.

Erik Bedard

2011 IP: 129.1

2009-11 Average IP: 74.1

Bill James 2012 Projection: 122.0

My Projection: 120 (this is about all we can realistically expect)

Charlie Morton

2011: 171.2

3 YR AVG: 142.2

Bill James: 176.0

My Projection: 150 (Taking his injury into account)

James McDonald

2011: 171.0

3 YR AVG: 126.0

Bill James: 170.0

My Projection: 180 (he started last year injured so expecting more innings seems reasonable)

Jeff Karstens

2011: 162.1

3 YR AVG: 138.1

Bill James: 135.0

My Projection: 140 (he does not have a track record of pitching a lot of innings so I can’t expect him to)

Kevin Correia

2011: 154.o

3 YR AVG: 165.2

Bill James: 149.0

My Projection: 150 (he has been consistent the past two seasons)

Brad Lincoln

2011: 159.1

3 YR AVG: 147.1

Bill James: 86.0

My Projection: 130 (he should end up starting quite a few games this season)

Total Innings From Starters: 870 IP

Joel Hanrahan

2011: 68.2

3 YR AVG: 68.0

Bill James: 67.o

My Projection: 65 (assuming he is with the team all season)

Evan Meek

2011: 30.2

3 YR AVG: 55.1

Bill James: No Prediction

My Projection: 50  (not going to assume a full season until we see one)

Chris Resop

2011: 69.2

3 YR AVG: 59.0

Bill James: 66.0

My Projection: 60 (sounds fairly reasonable to me)

Chris Leroux

2011: 93.0

3 YR AVG: 70.67

Bill James: 41.0

My Projection: 70 (I think he assumes Veras’s role this season)

Jason Grilli

2011: 65.1

3 YR AVG: 40.1 (missed 2010)

Bill James: 54.0

My Projection: 50 (a fair number for middle relievers)

Tony Watson

2011: 75.1

3 YR AVG: 67.2

Bill James: 48.0

My Projection: 40 (I see him being a LH specialist and also pitching some in AAA)

Daniel McCutchen

2011: 84.2

3 YR AVG: 136.2

Bill James: 82.0

My Projection: 60 (I see him splitting time between AAA and MLB but in long relief he will still get a lot of innings)

Daniel Moskos

2011: 66.1

3 YR AVG: 91.1

Bill James: 59.0

My Projection: 40 ( I see him pitching in the MLB a little more this season)

Jared Hughes

2011: 115.1

3 YR AVG: 106

Bill James: No Projection

My Projection: 35 (might be a bit high but I do expect him to be a primary fill in)

Bull Pen Total: 470 IP

Total From Regular Starters and Relievers: 1340 IP

Now on the surface this seems great because there are only 110 innings left and we haven’t even given the foursome of Locke, Owens, Wilson and Morris any time. However these projections are assuming everyone stays relatively healthy, no one gets traded and everyone is effective enough to warrant the time they are given. In reality allowances for all of these factors need to be considered. Realistically speaking I think we can take 85% of the innings total I came up with. For rounding sakes we will say the 15 pitcher listed after taking in account for allowances are good for 1150 IP. This leaves the Pirates short 300 innings.

Now lets look at the foursome of Lock, Owens, Wilson and Morris:

Locke:  think he is a good bet to make 8-10 starts this season and assuming 5-6 IP per start that makes him good for 40-60 innings. So lets go on the high side and say 60 IP.

Owens: I see him getting a chance some point in the season but he needs to show he can handle AAA so expecting anything more than 5-7 starts seems a bit too much. Let’s optimistically put him at 40 IP this season.

Morris and Wilson: These two are primarily relief pitching prospects. We’ll give the duo 30 innings of relief this season.

So there is 130 innings which I think is a fair estimate for these 4. That still leaves the Pirates 170 innings short. I am going to assume someone like last year that surprising candidates like Hughes and Locke emerge and take a few innings in September. So lets give the September call ups 30 total innings. We get a final total of 140 innings the Pirates will need to fill.

Someone is going to need to pitch these innings. Right now the Pirates have Jo-Jo Reyes, Shairon Martis, Doug Slaten, Ryota Igarashi, Logan Kensing, Michael Crotta, Tim Wood, Daniel Cabrera and Kris Johnson to fill those innings. This is far from ideal we are talking 10% of the season is going to be pitched by AAA depth. It is not uncommon for there to be a need for some innings to be handled by the likes of these players but the amount of innings the Pirates could potentially be counting on them for is astronomically high.

The solution add another arm to the rotation. It doesn’t have to be a Roy Osawlt or Edwin Jackson to make an impact. All it has to be is a player better than the NRIs the Pirates have currently invited to camp. I would have gladly taken a Jeff Francis but now with him off the market and others like him also finding work the pitching options are shrinking. At this point I would take Rich Harden and hope for 80 innings from him.

Bottom line what I am trying to say is please Mr. Huntington go get us another arm.

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