These Pittsburgh Pirates hurlers must start 30 games or more

4 of 5

Yes, that’s right. In my view, Vance Worley is an extremely important piece of the Pittsburgh Pirates starting rotation.  Despite only starting 17 games after being called up in June, The Vanimal led the Pirates staff with an average of 6.5 innings pitched per start.  Incredible for a guy that epitomized the “scrap heap” pitcher finds of the Ray Searage/Clint Hurdle era.  Remember that strikeout-to-walk ratio I’ve been yammering on and on about?  Yeah, Worley led the staff in that metric as well (3.59).  A caveat to that is that that amazing ratio has less to do with volume of strikeouts more than it does with rarity of walks.  Worley issued only 22 free passes all year, an average of only 1.3 per start, or 1.8 per nine innings if you prefer.  What more could you possibly want from a back-end starter?

In my very first piece on these pages, I made the case for Vance Worley over Jeff Locke, and I would make that case over and over again.  These numbers prove it.  I’m very aware that this is a major assumption that Worley can come close to replicating those numbers again over a full season, but I put my faith in Uncle Ray that he can affect lasting changes in The Vanimal.  For a “fifth starter” to be able to give you 30+ starts, quality ones at that, would be a godsend.

Let’s take a quick moment to address the elephant in the room.

Next: What about Papa Francisco?