Batting Average Against - J.P. Massey
Here is the one of the only pitchers who led Pirate minor league starters in another rate statistic whose name isn't Braxton Ashcraft. That's fellow 2022 draft class member J.P. Massey. Massey had a lot of ups and downs during the 2023 season but overall was a promising year after coming off a rough final season in college.
Massey's season started at Bradenton, where he pitched to a 3.28 ERA, 4.31 FIP, and 1.32 WHIP. Massey had a 27.1% strikeout rate and 0.73 HR/9 but a walk rate clocking in at 11.4%. The Pirates used Massey out of the bullpen twice, and in both times, he struggled. Despite these two appearances making up just 4.2 of his 49.1 innings pitched, they made up six of the 18 earned runs he allowed. If you only look at his starts, Massey had an even better 2.42.
After making the Futures Game, the right-hander was promoted to Greensboro, where he struggled to a 4.65 ERA, 5.54 FIP, and 1.35 WHIP. His strikeout rate dipped to 19.4% while his walk rate ballooned to 17.4%, though his home run rate was still solid at 0.87. Granted, of his nine games at Greensboro, only two resulted in more than two earned runs allowed. These two games made up over 50% of his earned runs allowed, even though they made up less than a quarter of the innings he pitched.
Massey's season was cut short, as the Pirates placed him on the developmental list late into August. This was also his second stint on the developmental list. This doesn't necessarily mean that he was injured, but the Pirates opted to let him rest a few times in the second half of the season. But even though his season was cut short, Massey still held opposing batters to just a .207 batting average against him, which was the best among Pirates minor league pitchers.
He also had a hefty 59.1% ground ball rate, which was another statistic that Massey led Pirates' minor league starting pitchers. That undoubtedly helped Massey hold opponents to a batting average right around the Mendoza line. It also helped that he had an above-average strikeout rate at Bradenton.