Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
The Pittsburgh Pirates escaped the abyss of 20 consecutive losing seasons to make the playoffs in 2013 and 2014. A lot of the credit has gone to Clint Hurdle, Andrew McCutchen and Gerrit Cole. However, there is another man that deserves a huge amount of credit for the Pirates’ turnaround, and his name is Ray Searage or “Uncle Ray” as the team calls him. To most fans, he is simply The Pitching Wizard. Give him your mediocre pitcher and watch as he turns him into something that benefits the Pirates.
What does Uncle Ray do that is so special? It really varies from pitcher to pitcher. There have been many successful reclamation projects under Searage, and today we are going to look at some of the biggest and most notable success stories for starting pitchers, in no particular order. We will standardize this by looking at each pitcher’s record, ERA, FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching), and WAR (Wins Above Replacement) values.
The one thing all these pitchers have in common is they were struggling big time before coming to Pittsburgh. Under Ray Searage, most have found a new level of pitching. For some, the change was mechanical. For others, they changed where they attack the strike zone or they added a new pitch to their game. The one constant is they went from mediocre or worse to a very good or better Big League Pitcher.
Lets jump right in and look at our first reclamation project under the Pitching Wizard.
Next: Steady Eddie