Pittsburgh Pirates: Three Veteran Free Agents Who Could Help

ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 3: Starter Edinson Volquez #36 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning at Busch Stadium on September 3, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 3: Starter Edinson Volquez #36 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning at Busch Stadium on September 3, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /
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Sep 26, 2020; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Rick Porcello (22) throws the ball during the second inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 26, 2020; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Rick Porcello (22) throws the ball during the second inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports /

Rick Porcello

2016 American League Cy Young winner Rick Porcello is coming off a so-so stint with the New York Mets. While he may have had a 5.64 ERA and 1.50 WHIP, he also had a solid 3.33 FIP, 4.38 xFIP, 4.45 SIERA and 4.58 DRA.

Porcello only walked 5.7% of all the batters he faced while having a strong 0.76 HR/9 rate. Porcello has never been a big strikeout guy, but had a 20.7% strikeout rate compared to his career average 17.5% rate.

Porcello was majorly hurt by a .373 batting average on balls in play despite an above average exit velocity (87.2 MPH) and hard hit rate (36.8%), which caused his ERA to rise so much. Combined with a small sample size of just 59 innings and his numbers are a bit inflated. In the three seasons prior to 2020 he was a roughly league average pitcher putting up a 4.79 ERA, 4.45 FIP and 1.32 WHIP. That comes out to a 104 ERA-, 96 ERA+ and 102 FIP-. That’s all within 5% of the league average.

The main reason the Pirates should look into Porcello is to provide a durable arm. From 2017-2019, the soft tossing right hander averaged 33 starts and 190 innings per season. The Pittsburgh Pirates have a lot of young arms, including in the bullpen, so having a starter who can consistently give you 6 innings every five days and give your bullpen some rest is a big positive.

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