Originally written on Pirates Prospects  |  Last updated 8/18/13
All season on this site we had been talking about how Jeff Locke was due for regression. The left-hander had an ERA around 3.00, and eventually that dropped as low as 2.01 on June 19th. That would have made him one of the best starters in the majors. His advanced metrics suggested a different story. Locke’s FIP bounced around a lot in the first half of the season, but from the start of June he has been consistently in the 3.70-4.00 range. The main reason we were saying that Locke would regress was because of that FIP. Fielding Independent Pitching measures what a pitcher controls, and removes any outside help that could be influenced by other players on the team, or luck. In this case, Locke was playing above his head, stranding an unsustainable amount of runners. Lately Locke has seen some struggles. There was the horrible outing today, which James Santelli recapped. There was a four run in four inning game on July 31st. The other starts have been good, but we’re just not seeing the first half Locke who strands everyone and throws seven shutout innings. I don’t want to excuse Locke’s start today, because it was a horrible outing. It wasn’t just about bad luck either, as James detailed some of the things Locke was doing wrong. That being said, if you remove this start, Locke hasn’t been bad this season. The sentiment that Locke is falling apart lately just isn’t true. The idea that he was struggling before this game is also false. What is happening is that Locke is finally showing that regression. He’s not getting out of every jam. As a result, he’s actually giving up runs and looking more like a #3-4 starter. If you take out today’s game, in every situation his numbers look fine. Think he’s struggling since the All-Star break? He’s got a 3.54 ERA in 28 innings. Second half problems? 3.32 ERA in 40.2 innings since the start of July. The only way you could get a bad group of starts before this one is if you took the July 31st start where he gave up four runs in four innings, and didn’t include some of the fine starts surrounding that poor outing. We’re currently on Stage 4 of regression grief for Jeff Locke — depression. (Photo Credit: David Hague) I see this all the time with regression candidates. It’s almost the five stages of regression grief. Stage 1 – Denial Every time you mention that a guy who is performing well will eventually regress, you automatically get people who deny the entire idea of regression. Or they just deny that the player will regress. Stage 2 – Anger If you dare bring up the subject more than once, you’ll spark some rage. Stage 3 – Bargaining “What if he just knows how to pitch?” “What if he’s the next (Insert pitcher who wasn’t even a regression candidate) who always plays above his head?” “Why can’t he be the exception?” And a bunch of other questions that start to accept that regression is a real thing, but hope that it isn’t real in this case. Stage 4 – Depression The player actually regresses. Season over. Pack it up. This guy shouldn’t even be in the majors. Even though we were comparing him to Clayton Kershaw two months ago, he had one bad start and a bunch of “Not Clayton Kershaw” starts to go with it, and that means he should be done for the year. Stage 5 – Acceptance We haven’t reached that stage with Locke, but this is the stage where you accept what the pitcher is, and laugh about that time you thought his 2.01 ERA in 89 innings was enough to make him the next Tom Glavine. Acceptance doesn’t always include rational thinking. If it’s a pitcher like Locke, who has a 3.85 FIP and should be expected to put those results up going forward, then he’s going to get the Video Game/Fantasy Baseball/Charlie Morton Isn’t a Good Pitcher treatment, where every pitcher is expected to have a 3.00 ERA or lower, and anyone who is close to league average is actually someone who should be in the minor leagues. On the season Locke has a 2.90 ERA and a 3.85 FIP. That includes tonight’s start. I think people are starting to enter the “Depression” stage, with the realization that Locke isn’t going to be a top of the rotation starter. But “regression” doesn’t mean that if a player isn’t a top of the rotation starter he falls to the other end of the spectrum. It just means he regresses to his skill level. In this case, Locke is still expected to put up numbers that are around the league average. He’s got some things to work on to make sure tonight’s start doesn’t happen again (lowering his walk rate would be a good place to start). But Locke is still a major league pitcher, and he’s still a guy with the ceiling of a #3-4 starter. Eventually we can all get to the “Acceptance” stage and realize Locke’s true value. Links and Notes **The latest episode of the Pirates Prospects Podcast is out: P3 Episode 17: The Pirates Issues With RISP, Platoons, and Small Ball. Prospects **Prospect Notebook: What Remaining Minor League Promotions Can We Expect? **A Quick Look at Tyler Glasnow’s Declining Walk Totals. **Prospect Watch: Howard Homers Twice, Polanco and Cunningham Go Deep in Altoona Win. **DSL Prospect Watch: Pirates2 Win Tenth Straight in Shutout Over Braves. **Minor League Schedule: Sadler Looks to Stay Perfect on the Road. Pirates **Pirates Lose 15-5 as Jeff Locke Falls Apart in 3rd Inning. **Pirates Notebook: Gerrit Cole Stays in Rotation, But For How Long? **Agent: Kris Johnson Called Up to Pirates.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Russell Wilson 'would definitely consider' playing for Mariners

Lakers apologize for first, get second meeting with Aldridge

Mike Scioscia: Josh Hamilton should apologize to Arte Moreno

Sacramento Kings continue to be an utter disaster

Report: Cowboys believe Bryant is bluffing about missing games

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Steel workers on Kings arena wrote ‘Go Warriors’ on materials

Report: Cavs could put Love on trading block within next year

Red Sox GM: 'Time to think about' team being sellers

Cardinals fire scouting director in hacking scandal fallout

Report: Lakers to get second meeting with LaMarcus Aldridge

Antonio Gates suspended four games for violating drug policy

WATCH: Sean Doolittle gets cup check from teammate

University of Florida developing high-tech smart mouth guard

Pat McAfee is the best punter in NFL history

Mets coach on slump: The only thing left is human sacrifice

MLB teams who will continue to surprise in second half

2015 Women’s World Cup Final: The Rematch

Answering the five biggest questions in NBA free agency

Report: Mavericks sign Wes Matthews to four-year contract

Dwyane Wade celebrates deal with tea, painted toenails

Coach K at fan town hall: 'I have no thoughts on retiring'

Carroll doesn’t just bring skill to Toronto; he brings relevance

Lakers and Knicks: Piece by piece with no shortcuts

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Russell Wilson 'would definitely consider' playing for Mariners

Solo, Rapinoe among USWNT stars up for World Cup awards

LBS on Sports Jeopardy! Here's how how it went

College football's 35 most patriotic helmets

A brief history of non-star All-Stars

With Love retained, the Cavs can take care of LeBron

Grading the deal: Davis commits to Pelicans

Obama Administration: Change name if Redskins move to D.C.

Deciding what the All-Star Game means

Odell Beckham Jr. offered professional baseball contract

Orioles keep finding a way to win

Lloyd sends USWNT to World Cup final

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.