The lost man in the Pittsburgh Pirates rotation is Jeff Karstens. Nobody talks about him, but when you take a close look like FanGraphs did, it’s easy to see Karstens has been a disciple of castoff pitching coach Joe Kerrigan.
Karstens is the epitome of an average major league pitcher. He worked his ass off this offseason as he told Rocco on Extra Innings. He didn’t get a shot in spring training while the Pirates did their best at handing out scholarships for the starting rotation. All Karstens did was throw strikes.
It has worked.
Karstens is throwing 66% strikes this season, which places him in a tie with Joe Blanton and ahead of Felix Hernandez, Francisco Liriano, David Price, and a slew of pitchers with superior stuff. He’s amongst the 25 starting pitchers who throw the most strikes on a rate basis which is led by Cliff Lee (72%) and Scott Baker (70%) amongst others. This within itself isn’t too interesting or worthy of adulation because Karsten’s phobia towards throwing balls is yet to result in fantastic performances – minus one heck of a start during the 2008 season versus the Diamondbacks.
More details on Karstens including his free passes reducing his strike rate. It’s cool geeky stuff.