2015 Pittsburgh Pirates Gradeout – Jared Hughes

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The offseason is unfortunately here and so we are simultaneously tasked with reflecting on the 2015 season and looking forward to next spring. As part of Rumbunter’s off-season coverage, we will be grading out virtually every member of the Pittsburgh Pirates who spent substantial time on the team’s 25-man roster over the past season. We will look at their seasons as a whole, show you their relevant stats, and assign a final grade to each player. Today’s entry: Jared Hughes

Jared Hughes entered 2015 – his fourth full season in the majors – with a secured role in the team’s bullpen plans. Or, at least it seemed that way. After the Antonio Bastardo, Radhames Liz, and Aqruimedes Caminero acquisitions, it’s easy to look back now and know that many were looking at Hughes with question marks.

Hughes answered with a solid season, one that saw him continue to have a knack for stranding baserunners. With the additions to the bullpen, Hughes did find himself becoming a bit more specialized, with a career high in appearances, yet 8.2 innings less than his career high. That funky correlation leads me to immediately check his LOB% (left on base percentage) aka. baserunners stranded %. Surely, for Hughes to have such a discrepancy must mean that he did not perform as well in this arena as years previous.

Actually, no. Hughes stranded an amazing 81.7% of baserunners, second in the bullpen only to Tony Watson, but it’s close. Watson only did 0.5% better in this area than Hughes.

The peculiarities don’t end there. Hughes ended with a 2.28 ERA, but was the benefit of some luck as his FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) came in at 3.81. Hughes also had a .301 BABIP (batting average on balls in play) against him, but kept the ball on the carpet with a 63.7% rate – the single highest rate in the bullpen.

Overall though, Hughes was solid for most of the year, and spectacular at times. During June and July, Hughes put together a great run that saw only two earned runs in 26 appearances. Those runs actually came from solo home runs when games were decided. Those home runs represented exactly 2/3 of his home run totals on the year, as the ball stayed in the park for Jared.

It was no coincidence that the Pittsburgh Pirates started to stack wins and claw their way back into the NL Central division race during Hughes’ impressive stretch.

So how does he grade out for the year?

B+. Jared Hughes had a very solid year, putting in his fair share of work in the bullpen that was the best in the majors in 2015. His grade sees a slight ding due to a .720 OPS from opposing batters, but overall Hughes made for an excellent weapon out of the pen.. RP. Pittsburgh Pirates. JARED HUGHES