Pittsburgh Pirates: Unluckiest Pitches of the 2023 Season

Which Pirates pitchers had some of the unluckiest offerings during the 2023 season?

Sep 14, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Mitch Keller (23)
Sep 14, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Mitch Keller (23) / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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Bailey Falter’s four-seam fastball - wOBA: .347, xwOBA: .305

The Pirates acquired Bailey Falter at the trade deadline in a one-for-one swap with the Philadelphia Phillies for infielder Rodolfo Castro. Falter’s fastball has some very deceptive attributes, including velocity that plays up because of his long release point, and his high active spin rate. But the pitch should have played better than it did in 2023.

Falter’s four-seamer saw opponents hit .305 with a .438 slugging percentage, and .342 wOBA. He only had a 15.3% whiff rate with the pitch, but a look under the hood reveals that his fastball could have been much better. He registered a .266 xBA, but an elite .375 xSLG percentage. On top of that, he had an xwOBA of just .305.

The difference between a .342 wOBA, and .305 wOBA is massive. Ten players had a wOBA between .340-.343. They all had a league/park adjusted wRC+ around 120. The two players who had a .305 wOBA, Cincinnati Reds’ players Elly De La Cruz and Tyler Stephenson, had a wRC+ of 84 and 85, respectively. That is a 35% difference in production.