Here is a visual look at how the Pirates’ starting pitchers compared to the rest of the league in strikeout and walk rates last season. This graph shows every pitcher that threw at least 100 innings in 2011. The two lines mark the average rates for this particular group of pitchers, which divides the chart into four quadrants. The lower right quadrant contains some of the best pitchers in baseball, such as Roy Halladay, Justin Verlander, Cliff Lee and David Price. The upper left quadrant is made up of pitchers with below average strikeout and walk numbers, such as Bruce Chen, Jo-Jo Reyes, Jason Hammel and John Lannan. The other two quadrants mostly include solid yet flawed pitchers. On the bottom left, we have guys who struggle to miss bats but do not allow many free passes. The upper right quadrant contains pitchers who are able to generate swings-and-misses but tend to struggle with control.
(Click to enlarge)
As you can see, the additions of Bedard and Burnett give the Pirates something they did not have in 2011. Both posted strikeout rates that were comfortably above average. The Pirates still do not have a starting pitcher that landed in the elite lower right quadrant last year, but hopefully the rotation will be a little less hittable in 2012.