Evaluating Five Pittsburgh Pirates Pitchers Using Deserved Run Average

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FORT MYERS, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 29: Derek Holland #49 of the Pittsburgh Pirates delivers a pitch during the spring training game against the Minnesota Twins at Century Link Sports Complex on February 29, 2020 in Fort Myers, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)

These five Pittsburgh Pirates pitchers have the potential to have good 2020 seasons, and improve from their 2019 seasons, according to the stat deserved run average

Deserved run average, or DRA for short, is a metric formulated by Baseball Prospectus to evaluate a pitcher’s ability. It is an alternative to earned run average, or ERA. ERA has many flaws that can make it extremely unreliable. It does not take into account things such as the defense behind the pitcher, who is catching the pitcher, the pitcher’s ability to strikeout batters, prevent walks, and home runs, the park factors the pitcher is tossing in, the quality of contact they give up, and the batter or line-up they are facing. DRA takes into account these factors, plus many more such as base running activity, run differential, wild pitches or passed balls, the runners on base, and the role the pitcher is in.

It, like skill-interactive earned run average, or SIERA, is one of the very best ways to determine the underlying skill of the pitcher. It’s job is to isolate how good the pitcher is at their job of getting outs, and preventing runs. Many things can be working against the pitcher that they have no control over, which isn’t fair to count that against the pitcher. If the pitcher’s ERA is much better than their DRA, they’re probably getting fairly lucky. If they’re DRA is much lower than their bottom line ERA, then you’re probably looking at a pitcher who’s getting a few tough breaks or playing in front of a poor defense. Today, we will evaluate some of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ pitchers based on deserved run average (DRA).

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