After being acquired by the Pittsburgh Pirates at last year's trade deadline, left-handed pitcher Bailey Falter struggled mightily
At last season's MLB trade deadline, the Pittsburgh Pirates acquired left-handed pitcher Bailey Falter from the Philadelphia Phillies. The Pirates acquired Falter from the Phillies in exchange for infielder Rodolfo Castro.
Falter came to the Pirates looking for a change of scenery. Even though he pitched well for the Phillies in 2022, Falter struggled in 2021 out of the Philie bullpen and as a starting pitcher for the Phillies before the trade in 2023.
Unfortunately, the change of scenery did not work out as hoped for Falter.
Falter pitched in 10 games with the Pirates after being acquired at the trade deadline with 7 of them being starts. Even when Falter did not start, he was used as a bulk guy following an opener. So, it was clear that the Pirates viewed Falter as more of a starting pitcher.
In his 10 outings with the Pirates the lefty pitched 40.1 innings. Flater posted a 5.58 ERA, 5.78 FIP, 7.0% walk rate, 18.6% strikeout rate, and he allowed 10 home runs (2.23 HR/9). Even though Falter allowed 8 earned runs in his final outing of the season, even before that start he was struggling with a 4.87 ERA, 7.1% walk rate, just a 19.9% strikeout rate, and a home run rate of 1.64 HR/9.
Overall on the season, Falter posted a 5.36 ERA and a 5.25 FIP in 80.2 innings pitched across 18 appearances, 14 of which were starts. He walked just 5.8% of opposing batters, but also struck opponents out at a 17.3% rate while allowing 17 home runs (1.90 HR/9).
Opposing batters hit Falter hard throughout the season as well. His opposing barrel rate of 9.0%, 39.3% hard hit rate, and average exit velocity of 89.6 MPH were all well above the league average. With the exception of his changeup, opposing batter slugged at least .438 (fastball) against each of Falter's pitches. This included opponents slugging .493 off of his curveball, .545 off his sinker, and .746 off of his slider.
Looking ahead to 2024, Falter will enter the season out of options. Due to this, it will be interesting to see what happens with Falter. He should enter spring training competing for the two open spots in the Pirate starting rotation. If he does not win a rotation spot, he could get a role in the bullpen as a long/swing man for the Bucs.
Even with Falter's struggles last season, being out of minor league options could really work in his favor when it comes to potentially making the team's Opening Day roster.