Jeff Locke is an interesting case for me. This is a guy that really hasn’t been great at the minor league level outside of a few season and has been pretty putrid at the MLB level as well.
|2009||Myrtle Beach, Lynchburg||A+||5||8||4.59||27||27||127.1||1.484||10.2||0.4||3.1||7.0||2.25|
|A+ (2 seasons)||A+||14||11||4.17||44||44||213.2||1.334||9.6||0.5||2.4||7.7||3.14|
|AA (2 seasons)||AA||10||10||3.89||33||32||182.2||1.276||8.6||0.7||2.9||8.4||2.93|
|Rk (2 seasons)||Rk||11||4||3.19||23||16||93.0||1.065||8.3||0.6||1.3||10.8||8.62|
|AAA (2 seasons)||AAA||11||7||2.44||29||29||170.0||1.194||8.0||0.5||2.8||8.3||3.00|
|A (1 season)||A||5||12||4.06||25||24||139.2||1.346||9.7||0.4||2.4||7.3||2.97|
The only real positive you can take away from those numbers are the control numbers. The good news in that regard is that, last year at least, they did translate to the big leagues.
The problem? Hits and homers baby. Hits and homers.
In six starts last year he managed just two quality starts, reaching 100+ pitches just one time. In four of those six games he allowed at least one homer. It seemed like every homer he allowed was a back breaker.
It’s kind of odd for a guy that has never been known to give up a lot of homers, so it’s something that can improve. That’s what I like about Locke, many of the problems he has exhibited in the majors are new, they aren’t a continuation of his performance at the minor league level, therefore I think they can be corrected.
I think the Pirates pretty clearly see Locke has a starter. His stuff is alright, nothing that will blow you away, but with the injury concerns pretty prevalent (Jeff Karstens, Charlie Morton, Francisco Liriano) in the Pirates rotation he will very likely get a shot.
That said, unless he really wows the Pirates in Spring he probably doesn’t start out with the Pirates. Unless he takes a bullpen role his value is as a starting pitcher.
Time is getting short for Locke, he only has one optioned remaining, this isn’t his last chance though, and I’d expect him to contribute at some point this season.
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