November 28, 2022

When used correctly, advanced analytics can really tell you the “why” of what happened to a particular player over the course of a season.

One of them is Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP), which is used to determine a pitcher’s performance once you have eliminated outside factors. Fangraphs gives a really good breakdown here on the metric.

Turning now to the Pirates system, we can get an idea of ​​who may have performed better or worse than at first glance. This could be a way to see who could progress or regress by 2023.

I took a look at all the pitchers in the system – I even included all time spent in FCL and DSL – who pitched at least 40 innings last year and compared their ERA to their FIP. I focused on who had the biggest differential, both good and bad.

Top 10 FIPs

There were 59 players to pitch at least 40 innings in the system last year, and before we get to the differentials, here’s a look at the top and bottom 10 pitchers in the system as far as FIP goes.

Launcher Level Innings pitched FIP
Andres Silvera DSL 41 2.13
John Montero A 47.2 2.81
Antoine Solometo A 47.2 2.83
Nick Dombkowski A/A+/AA 67.1 3.26
mike burrows AA/AAA 94.2 3.29
Christian Charles A/A+ 53.2 3.29
Tyler Samaniego A+/AA 47.2 3.46
Quinn Priest A/A+/AA/AAA 90.1 3.59
Tahnaj Thomas YY 50.2 3.63
Po-Yu Chen A 98.1 3.76

18-year-old Andres Silvera, who started in the Dominican Summer League, may have been a bit of a surprise at the top. His outstanding season (1.54 ERA, 29K%, 3.9 BB%) was backed by a 2.13 FIP, which was by far the best in the system.

Burrows took a bit of a beating in Triple-A (5.31 ERA) but his FIP remained below four, helping to keep his 3.29 overall rating.

Quinn Priester started the season late but played enough of a role to finish with an ERA and FIP below 4.

The last 10 FIPs

Here’s a look at the pitchers who pitched at least 40 innings last year and finished with the worst FIP ​​in the system.

Launcher Level Innings pitched FIP
Adrian Florencio A+ 58 7.50
Matt Eckelman A+/AA/AAA 61.2 6.34
Bellomy Bear YY 55 5.60
Osvaldo Bido AAA 111.1 5.49
SeanSullivan A+ 75 5.47
John O’Reilly AAA 61.2 5.40
Santiago Florez A+ 63.2 5.37
Darvin Garcia A 45.1 5.31
Christofer Melendez AA/AAA 42 5.18
Jack Carey A+ 61 5.17

One thing that immediately stands out is that half of those 10 pitchers have spent part or all of their season in Greensboro, which we really didn’t need another reminder about just how friendly this park is to hitters, but here we are.

Adrian Florencio, Sean Sullivan, Santiago Florez and Jack Carey all spent the entire 2022 season at High-A Greensboro, and you can see it in the results. Matt Eckelman also spent time in Greensboro, but bounced around the system while working on a knuckleball late in the year.

Osvaldo Bido has posted excellent takeout numbers at the top tier of minors, although he hasn’t been known for this in his past but has also been hit.

FIP Differential – Bad

One thing that immediately stands out is the fact that it’s not really the best tool to use when evaluating players, as you’re going to find more well-known pitchers on this list than on the other side.

Just because they’re on this side of the gap doesn’t mean they had a good season or not. In fact, it should only force us to look beyond the numbers when evaluating prospects and find out what caused their FIP to fall so far short of their ERA numbers.

Player Innings pitched TIME FIP Differential
Bouba Chandler 41.1 2.61 4.79 2.18
Cam Vieaux 50 3.06 4.41 1.35
Nick Garcia 113 3.66 4.89 1.23
Joe Jacques 43.1 3.12 4.33 1.21
Sergio Umana 40 2.70 3.87 1.17
JC Flowers 68.2 2.88 4.01 1.13
Tyler Samaniego 47.2 2.45 3.46 1.01
Osvaldo Bido 111.1 4.53 5.49 0.96
Cameron Juncker 51.1 3.33 4.16 0.83
SeanSullivan 75 4.68 5.47 0.79
austin robert 48.1 4.28 5.07 0.79

Solometo was the only pitcher in the system with at least 40 innings pitched to post a sub-3 ERA and FIP, showing just how tough it is. For someone like Tyler Samaniego, there’s no denying the great season he’s had, as he went an entire month without giving up a hit, but it’s hard to match a 2.45 ERA when it comes to concerns the PIF. Even with that, a FIP of 3.46 is still impressive for a reliever.

Sullivan and Garcia both played at Greensboro and posted the usual home/road splits you’d expect. Vieaux, Jacques, Umana and Junker – even Flowers – are all relievers and you can live between their ERA and FIP, even with the other half’s big jump.

Bubba Chandler’s big drop isn’t much of a surprise, launching Single-A at 19.

FIP Differential – Good

Again, using things like this is tricky. Just because a player made this list doesn’t mean they’re in line for a big jump into next season. Chances are none of these players are as bad as their numbers make them seem.

Player Sleeves TIME FIP Differential
Eddy Yan 53.1 6.75 4.84 1.91
Luis Peralta 60.1 6.41 4.88 1.53
Miguel Yajure 54.2 6.09 4.61 1.48
Bellomy Bear 55 7.04 5.60 1.44
Santiago Florez 63.2 6.50 5.37 1.13
Carmen Mlodzinski 105.1 4.78 3.77 1.01
Hunter Stratton 63 5.71 4.70 1.01
Carlos Lomeli 50 5.40 4.48 0.92
Emmanuel Mejia 49.2 5.80 4.93 0.87
Po-Yu Chen 98.1 4.58 3.76 0.82

Certainly some interesting names on this list. Eddy Yean didn’t have a great 2022, but maybe it wasn’t as bad as we initially thought? How much did playing Greensboro play into all of this?

Many of the numbers still didn’t look good even after filing, but two interesting names who made it here are Carmen Mlodzinski and Po-Yu Chen (Luis Peralta potentially as third).

Mlodzinski has had its ups and downs over the past year, never quite finding his groove. He was kicked out of a few starts in the stretch without finishing the first run. It has some good stuff, and the 3.77 FIP can play into it.

If you’re a fan of turnover rates, Chen is the guy for you. He had a small taste of the Single-A at the end of 2021, before spending the last season with Bradenton. A FIP under four more proof of his progress in his first full season of professional baseball.

Final analysis

Although the use of FIP is a bit different at the major league level, as there are more factors in the minors, it can still be a good gauge and give you some players to watch in the future.

No type of analytical metric should be used as an end-all, especially when it comes to leads. This is a small part of the bigger picture when looking at minor leaguers, but can also help point you in the right direction for where that specific player may be heading.

THIS WEEK ON PIRATES PERSPECTIVES

Endy Rodriguez is the Pirates Prospects Minor League Player of the Year

Quinn Priester is the Pirates Prospects Minor League Pitcher of the Year

Matt Gorski is Pirates Prospect of the Year

Pittsburgh Pirates System FIP Leaders: A second look at pitch performance – PLAY

Roansy Contreras: what Google Analytics said about his rookie season

Beau Sulser shows improved effectiveness as a reliever


Anthony started writing over 10 years ago, starting a personal blog to cover the 2011 MLB Draft, where the Pirates were selected first. After browsing through many hockey-related websites, he refocused his attention on baseball, his first love in sports. He finally ended up here at Pirates Prospects at the end of 2021, where he covers the team’s four minor league affiliates all season.


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