April 2, 2011

Who The Hell Are These Guys? Pirates Relief Pitching, Part II

I've already covered the relief pitchers you've heard of. However, If you watched the seventh inning yesterday, you might have noticed that the Pirates have some relief pitchers that you've never heard of. I also don't know anything about them but I'm going to do some research as I write this post and write in that authoritative tone that makes some people think this is a legitimate site.

Guy You've Never Heard Of: Garrett Olson
With Joe Beimel hurt, Garrett Olson opens the season as the only lefthander in the Pirates bullpen. So you'll see him quite a bit in the early season. Olson throws a 90 mph fastball, 81 mph curveball, and an 82 mph changeup. Olson is not too terrible, but he is kind of terrible. His main problem is the straight fastball with no movement.

Olsen was a supplemental first round pick in 2005 but flamed out as a starter with the Orioles and Mariners. The Mariners converted him to relief in mid-2009 and he's had quasi-respectable numbers since: a 3.90 ERA out of the bullpen in 2009 and a 4.54 in 2010. He might be pretty decent in a lefthanded specialist role - last year he held lefties to a .245/.322/.377 batting line. Righthanders are able to drive the ball more - .284/.339/.490 in 2010 - but he's not completely helpless.

2008: 133 IP, 9-10, 6.65, 1.73 WHIP, 5.6 K/9
2009: 80 IP, 3-5, 5.60, 1.41 WHIP, 5.3 K/9
2010: 38 IP, 0-3, 4.54, 1.51 WHIP, 7.4 K/9

Overall, Olsen should be the second-best lefty out of any bullpen or AAA depth who pitches half the season in the majors as he did for Seattle last year. He's our lefty specialist now, deal with it.

Guy You've Never Heard Of: Jose Veras
Veras probably is the closest thing the Pirates have to a seventh inning setup man. This is his age 29 season and Veras is already a fairly established guy with 177 games of major league experience.

2008: 58 IP, 5-3, 3.59, 1.41 WHIP, 9.8 K/9
2009: 50 IP, 4-3, 5.19, 1.39 WHIP, 7.2 K/9
2010: 48 IP, 3-3, 3.75, 1.27 WHIP, 10.1 K/9

Veras has enough stuff to be an elite reliever. He relies mainly on a 95 mph fastball and an 80 mph curveball, mixing in an 85 mph splitfingered fastball. All those are plus pitches, but Veras struggles with command and has walked five batters per nine innings throughout his career. He also has struggled at times with the long ball, which is largely an issue of missing over the plate with his fastball. His curveball is his best pitch and is a strikeout pitch. His 10.1 K/9 total last year is enough to merit a spot in the late innings for this year's Pirates.

Guy You've Never Heard Of: Michael Crotta
I have to be honest, I didn't even know this guy was on the team until I checked the roster this morning. Based on the fact that he's had bad statistics throughout his career, I'm going to guess it's because he's a bad pitcher. He went 5-10 with a 4.93 ERA last year in Indianapolis; I really didn't even view him as a serious candidate to make the team. But if someone likes you, I'm all for giving them a shot even if you know that person is terrible.

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  2. Crotta's bad stats are as a starter, once he switched to relief his stats got much better. Was great in ST and observers say he has the best sinker in the system. Pitched a 1-2-3 7th in today's win.

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