Four Low Risk, High Reward Pitchers the Pittsburgh Pirates Should Take a Chance on
By Noah Wright
Reliever Pat Neshek
Yes, Pat Neshek was pretty ineffective last year. He had an ERA above 5 and FIP above 6. But he pitched in an injury limited 18 innings, and still walked just 1 batter per 9 innings pitched when he did pitch, and generated ground balls at a 41.8% rate (his career average is 33.9%). Plus, he isn’t far removed from being one of the Phillies better pitchers out of the pen. Between 2014 and 2018, Neshek owned a 2.46 ERA, 2.94 FIP, and .939 WHIP. His ERA and FIP ranked in the top 15 of all relief pitchers in this time frame (min. 250 innings). His 5.72 K/BB ratio was one of the best in the MLB. Only Dodgers’ All-Star Kenley Jansen passed him at 7.68.
The submarie pitcher doesn’t rely on velocity. His fastest pitch is his sinker, which sat at 88.9 MPH last season. His career average is 90.4 MPH, which if healthy, he could get back into the 90’s range. Plus his slider, cutter, and change-up still had decent movement on them. With a lack of late inning depth behind current closer Keone Kela, taking a low risk one year deal on Neshek could result in being able to bring a player with potential and upside back at the deadline.
While it is a different front office, Neshek is also a pitcher the Pirates have been tied to in the past. At the 2014 Winter Meetings the Pirates were, according to reports, ‘seconds away’ from a deal with Neshek before the Houston Astros swooped in and offered a second year.