Vance Worley Acquisition is not Surprising

The Pirates acquired 26-year-old starting pitcher Vance Worley, today, in a trade for cash considerations.

Worley, a right-hander, has pitched in the major leagues for the last four seasons and was quite successful with the Phillies in 2010 and 2011, posting xFIPs of 3.38 –  at age 22 – and 3.66 the following year.

.In 2012, Worley had a major league average xFIP of 4.04. But he blew up, last year, after being traded to the Twins for centerfielder Ben Revere.

Worley seems like the kind of pitcher the Pirates believe they can “fix.” He had above average groundball rates the last two seasons, but his strikeout numbers have fallen drastically. In his first two seasons with Philadelphia, he had K rates that were greater than 8.0 per 9 innings pitched. Last year, that number dropped to an anemic 4.62 K/9.

Unlike some of the Pirates other, recent reclamation projects – Francisco Liriano, Edinson Volquez, and Andy Oliver – Worley has had good control throughout his major league career, including last season. His career walk rate is 3.09 BB/9. In 2013, that number was even better, at 2.77 BB/9.

The Pirates had nothing to lose by acquiring Worley and, if they can fix him, could gain quite a lot. There are not many “freely” available 26 year-old starters who had a 3.38 xFIP at age 22.


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