The Pirates and Dodgers played a matinee inside of a mostly barren, occasionally damp, but always beautiful PNC Park today.
Paul Maholm started for the Pirates. He’s a nice enough pitcher. His FIP last season was sub-4 for the first time in his career. He’s not an ace by any means and his game is all about groundballs. His fastball averages a little under 90 miles per hour. I was talking with Marc Normandin during the game and raised this question: Has any team been more stuff averse than the Pirates over the last few seasons? The only mainstay Pirates’ arm since Oliver Perez left that had good stuff is Ian Snell.
Curious and having plenty of time to do some SQL fiddling, I punched a query into the Baseball Databank and found that, since 2000, the Pirates have had three seasons where a pitcher topped 100 innings and also had a K/9 over 8. The top non-Perez and Snell entrees on the query were Kris Benson (in the year 2000) and Kip Wells. That’s just no good for Pirates fans who double as tools whores.
I wanted to test my claim a little more though, and began punching through other teams, using that arbitrary 8 K/9 number as the baseline and 2000-2008 (I don’t have the latest release of the Databank yet) as the timeframe. Here’s what I found:
Close, but not quite. Of course, you could argue that strikeouts per nine is not the best way to judge stuff, and you’d have a point. Still, it seems that a team like the Pirates under previous management would’ve surrounded flame-throwing starters like moths around … well, flamethrowers. Evidently not so.