The Pittsburgh Pirates have added a left-handed reliever on a minor league deal to further deepen their bullpen depth.
In the most recent Pittsburgh Pirates news, the team has signed left-handed relief pitcher Chasen Shreve to a minor league deal that guarentees him $1.5 million if he makes the team’s MLB’s roster. As per Jeff Passan on Twitter:
Shreve spent the 2020 season with the New York Mets and has also pitched for the Atlanta Braves, New York Yankees and the division rival St. Louis Cardinals. Last season, he pitched a total of 25.0 innings putting up a solid 3.96 ERA, 3.99 FIP and 1.16 WHIP. Shreve put up his typical high strikeout numbers, reaching a career high strikeout mark at 33.3%.
Shreve has always struggled with walks and home runs. Last season, his 11.8% walk rate fell right in line with his career average (11.5%), while having a 1.4 HR/9 comapred to his career 1.6 HR/9 rate. As noted by Passan, Shreve led all southpaws in whiff rate last season coming in with a 37.8% mark. Overall, that was the 14th highest mark in baseball.
Shreve has done well in high leverage situations as well. Opponents have only managed a .210/.315/.323 line in those situations. He also has limited opponents to a .210/.348/.336 line with runners in scoring position.
Shreve has a two-pitch mix including a fastball and splitter. While he isn’t a hard thrower with his four seam fastball only averaging 91.7 MPH in 2020, he does put a decent amount of spin on it at 2399 RPM. That was in the top 76th percentile. His splitter comes in at 83.3 MPH. Batters had a whiff rate of 55.1% against it. He’ll also throw a slider here and there, but hasn’t used it more than 10% of the time since 2016. Notably, his four seamer had a -1.8 run value/100 pitches which was the 56th highest mark among the 317 qualified pitchers.
The lefty also had good expected stats and ERA estimators. According to Baseball Savant, he had an opponent .208 xBA and .342 xSLG. His actual opponent wOBA and xwOBA both sat well below .300 at .282 and .277. In terms of his estimated performance, Shreve had a 3.45 SIERA, 3.61 xFIP and 3.74 DRA.
Currently, the Pittsburgh Pirates only lefties out of the pen are Sam Howard and Austin Davis. Marty recently did a write up on Davis, which you can read here . Howard also showed some promise during 2020 in his first extended look in the big leagues. This low risk deal is a good pick-up for the Bucs as it gives them a veteran lefty out of the pen who can handle higher leverage situations.