Pittsburgh Pirates: Projecting the 2022 Mid-Season Rotation

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 14: Miguel Yajure #89 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches in the first inning against the San Francisco Giants at PNC Park on May 14, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 14: Miguel Yajure #89 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches in the first inning against the San Francisco Giants at PNC Park on May 14, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /
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Sep 24, 2021; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Miami Marlins relief pitcher Zach Thompson (74) throws a pitch during the sixth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 24, 2021; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Miami Marlins relief pitcher Zach Thompson (74) throws a pitch during the sixth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Zach Thompson

The Pittsburgh Pirates acquired Zach Thompson in their most recent notable trade. They sent Jacob Stallings to the Miami Marlins, receiving back three players. Among those three, Thompson posted solid numbers in the major leagues.

Last year, Thompson worked out of the bullpen and rotation. Overall, he tossed 75 innings posting a quality 3.24 ERA, 3.69 FIP, and 1.21 WHIP in his rookie season. Thompson’s strong suit was limiting home runs. He had a .72 HR/9 rate, though his 21% strikeout rate and 8.9% walk rate aren’t going to make any headlines.

Thompson’s 43.4% GB% and phenomenal 16.5% line drive rate play up because he was in the top 76th percentile of exit velocity and top 82nd percentile in hard-hit rate. Thompson only had a 4.58 SIERA, and 4.65 xFIP, but none of his expected stats on Baseball Savant were below average.

Thompson’s best offering his cutter. It’s considered one of the best cutters in the majors. Last season his -11 run value was tied with 2nd place American League Rookie off the Year finisher Luis Garcia’s, and Los Angeles Dodgers’ all-star closer Kenley Jansen’s cutters. His four-seamer was his only offering that was considered below average in terms of run value.

Thompson is a late bloomer. Next year will be his age-28 campaign. But there’s not much to suggest that he can’t be a quality starting rotation arm. He might not be an ace, but a guy who can put up a 3.80 ERA with 150 innings isn’t out of the question. That’s very good production out of your no. 4 starter.

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