The Pirates Should Start Chad Kuhl On Sunday

Feb 25, 2016; Bradenton, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Chad Kuhl (66) poses for a photo at Pirate City. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 25, 2016; Bradenton, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Chad Kuhl (66) poses for a photo at Pirate City. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports /

The Pittsburgh Pirates will need a starting pitcher for their game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday night, and that pitcher should be Chad Kuhl.

The Pittsburgh Pirates are preparing to welcome the Los Angeles Dodgers to PNC Park for a a four game weekend wrap around series that will begin tonight and end on Monday. The Pirates will send Jameson Taillon to the mound tonight, Jeff Locke tomorrow night, and Francisco Liriano on Monday night. However, the Pirates have yet to announce a starting pitcher for Sunday night.

The reason for this is because this was originally Juan Nicasio‘s spot in the rotation. Nicasio, however, was placed on the restricted list last week and has yet to return to the team. Due to this, Wilfredo Boscan took Nicasio’s turn in the rotation this past Tuesday night against the San Francisco Giants. After a horrible start however, Boscan was returned to Triple-A.

When looking at possible options for Sunday night, things are pretty limited for the Pirates. Barring someone going on the disabled list, Wilfredo Boscan is not an option as he has not been in the Minor Leagues ten days yet. Gerrit Cole is close to returning from the disabled list, but the Pirates have already said it will not be on Sunday. This leaves really just two options: Tyler Glasnow and Chad Kuhl.

As I wrote yesterday, Tyler Glasnow still has control issues to work through. And Glasnow is best suited doing that in the Minor Leagues. Even though Chad Kuhl’s ceiling is nowhere near as high as Glasnow’s is, Kuhl appears to be more Major League ready right now. For this reason, the Pirates should start Chad Kuhl on Sunday night. 

Even though he has not been as good as Glasnow has been, or Jameson Taillon was before his call up, Chad Kuhl has still pitch extremely well at Triple-A this season. In his first season at Triple-A Kuhl has made 14 starts and pitched 76 2/3 innings in those 14 starts. In these 76 2/3 innings pitched Chad Kuhl is averaging just 1.88 BB/9, 1.06 HR/9, 6.93 K/9, and he has a 1.19 WHIP.

All of this has resulted in Kuhl posting a 2.58 ERA and a 3.88 FIP. While Kuhl’s 3.88 FIP indicates he is due for some regression, he should still be a big upgrade over pitches like Juan Nicasio, Jeff Locke, and Wilfredo Boscan. Plus, Chad Kuhl could be a big part of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ starting rotation, or bullpen, moving forward. So, it is time the Pirates start to find out what they have in Kuhl.

As everyone knows the Pirate rotation has been an utter mess this season. It has been a combination of pitchers having the worst seasons of their careers (Francisco Liriano and Jon Niese), and pitchers that flat-out suck as starting pitchers in the Major Leagues (Jeff Locke, Juan Nicasio, and Wilfredo Boscan). Chad Kuhl would almost assuredly improve the Pirate rotation, and it is time to find out what he can do at the Major League level.

As I also mentioned in my Glasnow article yesterday, I believe it is best to leave players in the Minor Leagues until they prove they have nothing left to gain from playing in the Minor Leagues. Jameson Taillon did this earlier in the season, and, in my opinion, Chad Kuhl has joined Taillon in this group.

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I have said this in the past, and still believe it, that Chad Kuhl might be best suited as a relief pitcher in the Major Leagues. This is because he primarily throws just two pitches, relying heavily on his sinker, but at this point there is nothing to lose by seeing what he can do as a starting pitcher. Due to his sinker, Kuhl is a big ground ball pitcher which fits the mold of what the Pittsburgh Pirates look for in a starting pitcher.

Whoever gets the ball for the Pirates on Sunday night, it will not be an easy task. They will be opposed by Clayton Kershaw, aka the best pitcher on the face of the planet. Also, the Pirates are playing some super crappy baseball right now.

Ultimately, Chad Kuhl should get the call up on Sunday to start for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Chad Kuhl has nothing left to prove at Triple-A, and the Pirate rotation is in shambles. It is time to see what the right-handed pitching prospect can do.