A look at the Pittsburgh Pirates’ September reinforcements

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May 14, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Bobby LaFromboise (39) pitches against the Philadelphia Phillies during the eighth inning at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Pirates have called up some reinforcements.

Yes, for all of the hoopla and back-and-forth regarding Tyler Glasnow, the Pirates quietly added five players who each carry the ability to be a cog – albeit none would be considered a terribly important one – in some games down the 2015 stretch.

Now that we can reel ourselves back in from the Glasnow hype, it’s time to take a hard look at what those who did make the leap up can do for this team. The players coming up comprise an interesting mix of familiar faces as well as someone finally getting a real chance to show what he can do. While names such as Pedro Florimon, Rob Scahill, and Travis Ishikawa are still to come, today we will focus on those that were officially announced yesterday as the “first wave” of the cavalry.  We are going to review how each player can help the Pittsburgh Pirates, and how they can hurt them.  Let’s get started.

Bobby LaFromboise

Bobby Lafromboise. That’s fun to say. LaFromboise is a 29-year old left handed pitcher who had a couple of cups of coffee with the big league club. Appearing in eight total games between 2014 and 2015, the southpaw is a classic three-pitch bullpen arm. Employing a changeup and slider to go along with his four-seam fastball, LaFromboise almost exclusively relies on deception. With a fastball that averages under 90mph, he isn’t going to blow anyone away.

How he can help – Even considering an incredibly small sample size, LaFromboise has shown good control in not allowing a free pass in his five innings with the Pirates. During that same timeframe, he has only allowed one run on a solo home run back in 2014. Bobby’s WHIP (walks+hits/innings pitched) has been under 0.85 for each of his stints with the big-league club. Despite not having good velocity, he did carry at 18.9% swinging-strike rate in 2014.

Stats aside, another left-handed option in the bullpen is never a bad thing.

How he can hurt – If we expand his 2015 numbers to include his performance at Indianapolis, the picture for LaFromboise changes completely. Pitching 54.1 innings across 54 games, LaFromboise’s BB/9 (walks per nine innings) balloons to 3.5. LaFromboise was also somewhat home-run prone for a middle reliever with a 0.8 HR/9 rating. Keeping it in the ballpark and pitching to contact will be key for LaFromboise if he is going to provide a meaningful contribution going forward.

Next let’s welcome back a local hero to many.

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