Jul 9, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Jeff Locke (49) delivers a pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Locke is likely the most polarizing Pittsburgh Pirate in recent memory. Despite a rocky last outing against the Nationals, Locke has pitched very well as of late, with a 2.53 ERA in his last eight starts. Control remains an issue for Locke as his 16 walks in that same span shows (46.1 IP). Many will be surprised that he made this list, but we cannot discount the fact that he is a proven big-league capable left handed pitcher.
Locke has had a peculiar 2015. After a horrendous April and June, Locke has rebounded to the tune of a 2.84 ERA over the last thirty days. From a year-over-year perspective, Locke has drastically reduced his HR/9 (home runs per nine innings) by half, from 1.1 to 0.6. In fact, Locke ranks tied for fourth overall in qualifying starting pitchers with just seven home runs allowed on the year. These are the highlights. The lowlights include a bloated 1.41 WHIP and a 9.3 H/9 (hits per nine innings), which are hefty increases over his 2014 numbers of 1.27 and 8.7 respectively.
Despite all of that, Locke is a valuable trade chip who’s stock may never be as high as it is now. Under team control until 2019, Locke would not be a centerpiece of any deal but would be a very attractive major-league level chip in any potential deals involving starting pitching.
Our next spotlight is a great talent who is going to have a hell of a time breaking through the logjam at his position any time soon.
Next: #4 - Deal from a position of strength?