Well, here we are again. After a miserable 2015, I hardly expected to be writing a Jeff Locke preview for 2016, but Pirates management felt he was a better than Charlie Morton. I’d debate both of them are sub-par, but what do I know.
Despite the Pirates dedication to shifts and a high staff ground ball rate, Locke is the exact opposite. The 29 year old gives up at least one home run per nine innings (that’s a stat, not an approximation) and despite a relatively good ground ball rate (for him) last season, he managed to consistently underwhelm in almost every statistical category.
Locke obviously isn’t the worst back of the rotation option, but if Searage and co. haven’t been able to find a solution for him yet, it’s fair to question if they ever will. It’s not necessarily Locke’s fault, he just doesn’t have much to work with. Locke’s velocity increased a bit in 2015, but it didn’t do much for his ERA or WHIP. At this point, you know what you’re getting with Locke and the Pirates are more comfortable with that than we are.
Next: Juan Nicasio