Originally written on Pirates Prospects  |  Last updated 11/17/14

Below are the top ten pitching Game Scores* in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ farm system from the last week. The rankings include every pitcher who made a start for a Pirates’ minor league affiliate, not including DSL teams, and with no limitations on whether the starting pitcher has prospect eligibility.

*Game Score is a stat created by Bill James used to determine how good a pitcher’s outing really was. The formula for game score is simple: Start with 50 points, add one point for every out recorded, add two for each inning completed after the fourth, add one point for each strikeout. Subtract two points for each hit, four points for each earned run, two points for each unearned run and one point for each walk. There tends to be an advantage for pitchers who can go longer in the game, as they have more time to pile up strikeouts, while getting bonus points for extra innings beyond the fourth frame.

Pitcher Team Date IP H R ER BB K Game Score Justin Wilson Indianapolis 8/9 8.0 0 0 0 1 5 86 Chris Leroux Indianapolis 8/6 7.0 1 0 0 0 5 80 Casey Sadler Bradenton 8/10 7.0 3 0 0 1 4 74 Chris Leroux Indianapolis 8/11 7.0 3 0 0 1 4 74 Eliecer Navarro Bradenton 8/12 7.0 3 0 0 1 4 74 Kyle McPherson Indianapolis 8/8 6.0 3 1 1 0 6 68 Tyler Glasnow GCL 8/11 4.0 0 0 0 0 5 67 Clay Holmes State College 8/7 5.0 1 0 0 2 3 66 Gerrit Cole Altoona 8/10 5.1 3 0 0 3 6 65.65 Kenn Kasparek Bradenton 8/8 6.0 5 1 1 1 4 61

Justin Wilson’s no hitter was the top Game Score this week.

Justin Wilson’s no hitter would obviously be the top game score of the week. His no-hitter actually over-shadowed an impressive pair of performances from Chris Leroux, who combined for 14 shutout innings over two starts, allowing four hits, one walk, and striking out nine. Those starts were good enough to give Leroux the second and fourth best game scores this week. Both Wilson and Leroux should be options for September callups.

After a few rough starts, Casey Sadler got back to putting up dominant performances. Sadler is an interesting arm. He was a JuCo pick, taken in the 25th round of the 2010 draft. He’s got the same tall, projectable frame that most of the prep pitchers were ranked highly for. He also throws 90-93 MPH with some good off-speed stuff. If he were a prep pitcher taken in the top ten rounds, we’d probably be calling him a consensus top 20 prospect right now.

Kyle McPherson made the jump to Triple-A, and was impressive in his debut. He was efficient, and his one run came in the final inning, after going out to pitch to one batter in the seventh. If he puts up more starts like this, he could enter the discussion as a September callup candidate, similar to Jeff Locke last year, who made five starts in Triple-A before getting the promotion.

Two of the most impressive lower level pitchers this year have been Clay Holmes and Tyler Glasnow. You need an impressive stat line to get in the top ten Game Scores with the lower level inning restrictions. That’s what happened this week. Glasnow pitched four perfect innings, while Holmes gave up one hit over five innings. Holmes also had one of the worst Game Scores of the week in his next start.

Gerrit Cole looks to be getting on track in Double-A, ending up in the top ten for the second straight week.


Short-Season Leagues

The players in the short-season leagues are usually limited. Pitchers in the GCL usually don’t go beyond three innings, while pitchers in State College are usually between four and five innings. Because of the limited innings, these players don’t post as high of Game Scores as players in the upper levels who can pitch beyond the fifth inning. Here were the top five from the short-season leagues over the last week.

Pitcher Team Date IP H R ER BB K Game Score Tyler Glasnow GCL 8/11 4.0 0 0 0 0 5 67 Clay Holmes State College 8/7 5.0 1 0 0 2 3 66 Tyler Glasnow GCL 8/6 2.2 2 1 0 2 5 52.35 Axel Diaz GCL 8/9 2.2 1 1 0 2 3 52.35 Luis Heredia State College 8/11 5.0 3 2 2 2 4 51

Glasnow not only was dominant in his four perfect inning start, but he put up good numbers in his first start of the week. He only pitched 2.2 innings, but that was mostly due to the two walks and five strikeouts, which reduced his outing. He found a great way to pitch a little deeper in to the game: just cut out all of the walks and hits.

It wasn’t a great week for the lower levels, so Axel Diaz and Luis Heredia made this list, despite not so impressive Game Scores. For Heredia, the start was impressive if we consider that he continues to go five innings per start, and hasn’t really been hit hard in many of his starts. The most impressive thing is that he turned 18 years old one day before this start, so all of this production has come at a very young age.


The Bottom Five

The following were the worst game scores by a starter in the Pirates’ minor league system over the last week.

Pitcher Team Date IP H R ER BB K Game Score Jason Creasy State College 8/28 3.0 7 5 5 1 1 23 Daniel Cabrera Indianapolis 8/7 5.1 7 7 7 5 5 26.65 Brandon Cumpton Altoona 8/7 2.0 2 6 3 3 0 27 Clay Holmes State College 8/12 1.1 2 3 3 5 1 28.65 Porfirio Lopez West Virginia 8/10 2.2 2 4 2 5 0 34.35

Jason Creasy was hit around this week, and Will Cleveland has a recap of the start. Brandon Cumpton had a bad start, but rebounded for a much better outing on Sunday. The start by Holmes was his worst of the year, one start after one of his best of the year. Holmes has struggled with control on occasion. This was the third start of the year that he’s walked five batters.

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