Pittsburgh Pirates: Notable MiLB Free Agent Signing Performances

VENICE, FLORIDA - MARCH 09: Todd Frazier #99 of the Pittsburgh Pirates stands at the plate during the first inning against the Atlanta Braves during a spring training game at CoolToday Park on March 09, 2021 in Venice, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
VENICE, FLORIDA - MARCH 09: Todd Frazier #99 of the Pittsburgh Pirates stands at the plate during the first inning against the Atlanta Braves during a spring training game at CoolToday Park on March 09, 2021 in Venice, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /
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Mar 12, 2021; Bradenton, Florida, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates Chase De Jong (76) throws a pitch in the first inning against the Toronto Blue Jays during spring training at LECOM Park. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 12, 2021; Bradenton, Florida, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates Chase De Jong (76) throws a pitch in the first inning against the Toronto Blue Jays during spring training at LECOM Park. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports /

Pitcher Chase De Jong

Chase De Jong looked like one of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ next big prospects back in 2016. He pitched a total of 147 innings, mostly with their Double-A affiliate, posting an outstanding 2.82 ERA, 3.55 FIP and 1.03 WHIP. Not only did he put up great results, but allowed just 6.8% of batters to reach base via free pass and had a solid 0.9 HR/9 rate. Strikeouts weren’t his strong suit with a 22.7% rate, but overall, he looked like another potential long term arm for the Dodgers.

However, despite his great numbers at Double-A, De Jong has struggled at Triple-A and during the brief time he’s been in the majors. After 2016, he was sent to the Seattle Mariners and has since bounced around with the Minnesota Twins, Houston Astros and even the Independent League Sugar Land Skeeters. At Triple-A, he’s tossed a total of 174 innings while having a poor 6.21 ERA, 5.63 FIP and 1.60 WHIP. Home runs became a massive issue with his HR/9 skyrocketing to 1.9. Meanwhile, his already so-so strikeout rate dropped to 16.6% and his strong walk rate rose to 8.2%.

Things only got worse in the majors as he’s pitched to the tune of a 7.12 ERA, 6.00 FIP and 1.656 WHIP through 54.1 innings. He has walked 26 batters as well to oppose just 35 strikeouts and has surrendered 11 home runs.

2021 will be his age 27 season, but he has a lot of competition in the pitching staff if he wants to secure a spot with the team. He’ll likely get sent to the alternative site and then Triple-A when the season starts, providing the Pittsburgh Pirates with some pitching depth.

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