Pittsburgh Pirates: Quinn Priester's Promising, But Unlucky Start

Sep 24, 2023; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Quinn Priester (64) throws
Sep 24, 2023; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Quinn Priester (64) throws / David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Pirates young starting pitcher Quinn Priester's recent start was very promising, but also unlucky to no fault of his own

Quinn Priester had his best outing yet as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 6 innings, Priester only allowed two earned runs and struck out four. But he also walked five. However, this start was promising for Priester’s future, even if he got unlucky.

Aside from pitching six innings, allowing just two earned runs, and earning a quality start to his name, Priester’s stuff looked outstanding. When Priester first came up, he was struggling to hit 95 MPH. Before he was demoted around mid-August, Priester sat just 92.7 MPH. During this game, he was averaging out at 94.7 MPH. 

Jason Mackey recently tweeted something that highlighted a point Matt Capps made during the radio broadcast. Priester’s sinker usage rate was up by nearly 10%, while his four-seam usage rate was down by about 7.2%. 

So where’s the unlucky part? Priester walked five, but some of those walks were “tough luck” walks. I’m considering a tough luck walk any plate appearance that ended in a walk despite the pitcher hitting the zone on at least two of the called balls, or if the fourth called ball actually caught part of the strike zone.

The first was the very first batter Priester faced, Jonathan India. Of the eight pitches Priester threw, five caught part of the zone. His second and sixth pitch both were very much in the zone, but were called balls. One batter later, T.J. Freidl drew a walk, but the fifth and final pitch of his plate appearance was within the strike zone. 

Overall, Mark Wegner’s called ball accuracy was all over the place. His called ball percentage was just 90%, which is 7% below the league average rate. His called strike accuracy was much better at 85%, compared to the league average rate of 88%. However, both Pirates and Reds pitchers were squeezed yesterday.

Still, this was Priester’s most promising start yet. He’s looked pretty good since his return in September. If Priester can end the 2023 season on a good note, he will surely be in the running for one of the rotation spots next year. Priester just turned 23 earlier this month, so he would be one of the Bucs’ younger pitchers in their 2024 rotation.

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