Bailey Falter has gone from DFA candidate to a solid rotation starter

When the Pirates announced that Bailey Falter made the Opening Day roster, it was a huge surprise after a horrible spring. Since then, Falter has been one of the better pitchers in the National League.
Pittsburgh Pirates v Chicago Cubs
Pittsburgh Pirates v Chicago Cubs / Quinn Harris/GettyImages

Bailey Falter has been absolutely dominant this season. No one expected him to be this successful after his poor 2023 and an even worse Spring Training. Many fans were upset with the Pirates' decision to make Falter the Opening Day roster, but to this day, it has been a very good move.

Falter was acquired near the end of the 2023 MLB trade deadline from the Phillies for Rodolfo Castro. With the Phillies, he had an 0-7 record with an earned run average of 5.13 in 40.1 innings pitched and struck out 28 batters. That looks bad, but he did even worse in Pittsburgh. After getting traded, Falter had a 2-2 record with an earned run average of 5.58 in 40.1 innings pitched and struck out 32 batters.

He was very solid in 2022, which is what the Pirates were hoping to unlock in 2024.

During Spring Training, Falter was the worst pitcher on the entire roster. In six outings, He had an 0-2 record with an ERA of 7.88 in 16 innings pitched with 15 strikeouts. He was out of minor league options, which left the Pirates with two choices: keep him or designate him for assignment.

Ben Cherington decided to keep Falter, and he made his first start of the season in game four against the Marlins. He allowed five runs to the first five batters. He didn’t allow another run after that first inning, but with an initial reaction, the future didn’t look great for Falter. That was not the case, as he responded to that start with a six-inning shutout against the Orioles. He had three more solid starts after Baltimore but struggled against Oakland. Recently, Falter has thrown three straight quality starts.

These starts have equated to a 3-2 record with an earned run average of 3.55 in 58.1 innings pitched and 33 strikeouts. He also has an impressive WHIP of 0.98 and a FIP of 4.73. He has been effective at limiting baserunners with an opponent batting average of .202 and 2.16 walks per nine.

Bailey Falter has been very impressive this season and which has kept him from being designated for assignment. If he continues to pitch well, he could have a long future in Pittsburgh. He won’t be a free agent until 2028, but he doesn’t have any options.