Welcome to this week’s edition of Pirates Breakdown’s Stock Report! This past week saw the Pittsburgh Pirates win just two of their six games against the Milwaukee Brewers, St. Louis Cardinals and Atlanta Braves. The team’s playoff hopes are just about nonexistent at this point, but let’s take a look at some stand out performances from the last week, both good and bad.
Whose Stock is Rising
Among the men that make up the offense for the club, not many hitters have been as consistent as Starling Marte has been recently. Marte went ten for 25 last week with two doubles mixed in with the other eight base hits. He also collected at least one base hit in each game, extending his current hitting streak to eight games. While the lack of extra base hits is somewhat concerning (and the fact that he did not draw any walks in this time span), it cannot be ignored that Marte has become one of the more reliable bats in the Pittsburgh lineup as the season winds down.
It seems like every week Trevor Williams is listed in this part of the column, and that is because he has been on an absolute tear lately, with no signs of slowing down. He gave the Pirates another gem of a start on August 29th as he limited the Cardinals to just three hits and three walks and allowed no one to cross home plate. Not a strikeout pitcher by any means, Williams struck out a season high eight batters in that contest while earning his eleventh win of the season and dropping his ERA to 3.30.
Jameson Taillon also earned his eleventh victory last week with a seven inning performance against Atlanta. He allowed just two runs in those innings on five hits and a walk. He struck out seven in that outing and has now registered nine quality starts in the last ten times that he has taken the mound. Taillon’s 2018 campaign is showing that he is capable of being a top of the line starter for the Pirates and should go a long way to helping solidify next season’s rotation.
Whose Stock is Falling
It’s probably unfair to list Keone Kela here since he has been so dominant since joining the club, but the relief pitcher turned in his worst performance on September 1st. Kela came into the game in the eighth inning with the Pirates leading the Braves by two runs. He promptly served up a home run to Dansby Swanson and then a double to pinch hitter Lucas Duda. While was able to get Ender Inciarte to strike out, pinch runner Lane Adams was able to score on Kela’s wild pitch and Inciarte was able to reach first. Inciarte quickly stole second base and eventually scored on Freddie Freeman’s double. Kyle Crick came in to relief Kela and gave up a hit to Nick Markakis and sacrifice fly to Johan Camargo to give Atlanta a two run lead. Because Kela has been such a strong addition to the bullpen, this was probably just a hiccup, but it shows how volatile relief pitchers can be.