The Pittsburgh Pirates have been targeting starting pitching this offseason. More specifically, left-handed starters. We have heard the names in the rumor mill throughout the past month. Chris Capuano, Felix Doubront, and now Joe Saunders.
Ken Rosenthal tweeeted this earlier this morning:
Saunders has been around the big leagues for eight years. The crafty southpaw lives in the high 80′s with his fastball, his changeup isn’t anything special, the curveball isn’t knee buckling, yet somehow he was solid for the O’s during their impressive stretch run. The often hittable Saunders was able to hold bad guys to just above three-and-a-half runs over seven big time starts.
Saunders was also able to hold the offensively high powered Texas Rangers to one-run in the American League Division Series Wild Card game. The Rangers chased pitches out of the zone and for 5.2 innings couldn’t do much against Saunders who was able to keep the ball on the ground and spot his curveball. Watching the game reminded me of a Paul Maholm start. ( A good one)
In fact the career numbers since 2008 are similar to Paul Maholm. Saunders has 117 GDP, 156 GS, and a 104 ERA+. The lefty strikes out about five batters per game over 1,100 innings.
Saunders can pitch. But since my neck isn’t on the line, we still like Francisco Liriano over Saunders.