Pittsburgh Pirates: Looking Ahead to 2022 for Three Starting Pitchers
By Noah Wright
The Pittsburgh Pirates purchased left-hander Dillon Peters contract from the Los Angeles Angels. Originally nothing more than a depth move, Peters was given the chance to start down the stretch and made the best of his shot.
Peters only pitched 26.2 innings but had a quality 3.71 ERA, 3.66 FIP, and 1.35 WHIP. He wasn’t a strikeout machine, getting just 19.7% of batters faced down on strike three. His 8.5% walk rate wasn’t out-of-this-world amazing either. But he allowed just 2 home runs and had a strong 48.2% ground ball rate. Most of the damage that was done to Peters was in his last start, in which he gave up 4 earned runs on 4 hits, including a home run, in just 3 innings. Outside of that, he had a sub-3 ERA, 3.17 FIP, and allowed 1 long ball in 23.2 innings.
Peters’ biggest strength is limiting the long ball. Up until he reached Triple-A, his highest HR/9 at any level was .6 at Low-A. So far in his major league career (which has only been 159.1 innings since 2017), he has a healthy 45.6% ground ball rate. A pitch-to-contact approach seems to be what Peters needed. He added a sinker this year, which he used 16.7% of the time while dropping his slider in the process.
In terms of run value, none of his offerings were below average. The very worst was his four-seamer with +0.2 RV/100 (the lower, the better with 0 being average), which overall, is still pretty much average. His curveball was a quality offering that had a -2 RV and -2.3 RV/100. Small sample size yes, but 4 offerings that played around average isn’t bad in any case.
Peters was never a top prospect like Wilson was. The highest he ever ranked was as the Miami Marlins’ 5th best prospect on MLB Pipeline’s pre-2017 list. That was back when he was still considered a powerful left-handed arm, one that reached around 92-96 MPH with his fastball. He also appeared at #15 on Pipeline’s pre-2019 list, and as the Marlins’ #17 prospect on FanGraphs’s pre-2018 list.
Realistically, Peters probably isn’t going to be anything more than a back-end starter, maybe a lefty swingman. But I really would like to see him succeed. He looked pretty good the first time the Pirates gave him a chance. It would be really nice to see the Pirates find a diamond in the rough with Peters.