Pittsburgh Pirates: Two Relievers Trending Upward

Aug 11, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Anthony Banda (52) pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals during the ninth inning at PNC Park. St. Louis shutout Pittsburgh 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 11, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Anthony Banda (52) pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals during the ninth inning at PNC Park. St. Louis shutout Pittsburgh 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – SEPTEMBER 01: Anthony Banda #52 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on September 01, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – SEPTEMBER 01: Anthony Banda #52 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on September 01, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Left-hand pitcher Anthony Banda

On August 2nd the Pittsburgh Pirates claimed lefty Anthony Banda off waivers from the New York Mets. Overall this season he owns a 4.03 ERA, 9.5% walk rate, 21.9% strikeout rate and a home run rate of 1.61 HR/9.

Since joining the Pirates, however, Banda has pitched much better than his overall numbers for the season. Banda has pitched 15 innings for the Pirates posting a 2.40 ERA and a 1.20 HR/9 in these 15 innings of work. While he’s walked 13.2% of batters faced he has struck out a healthy 23.5% of batters faced. He’s also limited opposing batters to a .237 batting average against.

Banda has limited opposing batters to an 86.8 MPH exit velocity since joining the Pirates which is 2 MPH better than the league average. His 27.5% hard-hit rate allowed is also better than league average. That said, you would like to see his 32.5% ground ball rate improve.

Entering the offseason the Pittsburgh Pirates will be in need of left-handed relief help in 2022. If Banda continues to pitch well the rest of the month he could enter Spring Training as a favorite to earn a spot in the Opening Day bullpen. With Banda under team control through 2024 he could pitch his way into being a key long-term bullpen piece for the Pirates.

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