4-22-22 – By Gary Morgan – @garymo2007 on Twitter
The Pirates haven’t been accused of pushing the right buttons often over the past few seasons, but the handling of the pitching staff early on and the emergence of Dillon Peters and Wil Crowe is the early season story none of us should be taking our eyes off of.
It’s just as short a sample size as anything else we’d be telling you to either not worry about or pump the brakes on, but there’s no denying early on, these two are arguably more responsible for every win than anyone else.
What the hell changed?
Dillon Peters if I’m honest doesn’t look any different to me. Like nothing notable at all. His velocity is up a tic or two, but that could just as easily be about being fresh early in the season as putting in work in the gym as Dillon credits. The delivery looks just as tight, his arm slot is just as deceiving and he still has glistening blonde hair that reminds me of Hulk Hogan. Ok so that has nothing to do with the pitching, but Iron Sheik might like that line.
Wil Crowe on the other hand, man, its a complete 180 right? Last year he was the slowest pitcher to the plate in the game, ok maybe Yu Darvish. This year he’s so fast guys are stepping back in the box and the ball is on the way. He’s suddenly Machine Gun Kelly out there.
He used to struggle with a pitch placement, now everything goes right where he wants it. Even his walks have primarily been on pitches he intentionally was hunting a chase. He couldn’t for the life of him last season master all 5 of his pitches, this year he’s throwing changeups down 2-0 for a strike at the knees on the corner.
Last year he looked spooked everyt ime someone got on base, this year on the few occasions he’s allowed anyone to reach he struts past them like he wants them to charge.
It’s almost like Bill and Ted when they travelled in time to meet their future selves to learn how to play their guitars.
You can’t ever tell who’s going to take a jump or put in work over the offseason and reinvent themselves from year to year.
It’s part of why I cringe every time someone says, this guy was a 0.5 WAR player last year and then proceed to assume that’s the best he can ever do. Baseball is filled with factors and advanced stats are there to try to measure each one of them. Until someone creates one called like xBaddASS that predicts a guy is going to go from zero to hero in an offseason, well, lets just say that’s no more silly than pretending improvement isn’t a thing.
We’re two weeks in. Everything could blow up in their face. I mean sincerely, we haven’t seen either give up a run yet, and we certainly know that has been in there too. Seeing how they rebound from it will tell us a whole lot.
They aren’t alone.
Most people decided they knew what Mitch Keller was too, and maybe it’ll turn out they did. Hard to deny he has more talent than any other starter being run out there, and most benefit to the club if he figures it out too for that matter.
This stuff is what makes baseball, hell sports, exactly what we love. The unknown is a draw, and you can be as educated as you like, you’ll never be able to nail every prediction. Even if you did believe Crowe would be good in the bullpen, you can’t have imagined this good. I know I sure didn’t.
I thought it would be a better situation for him and I thought he’d benefit from extra velo not trying to save himself and dropping a pitch or two he struggled with. WRONG. Instead he’s throwing everything, at anytime and the velo is only a tic up.
Where these two are in their careers, there is zero reason to believe they couldn’t be fixtures in this pen for years to come if this becomes the norm as opposed to an anomaly.
Kudos to Wil Crowe and Dillon Peters. Two guys who ended 2021 and decided 2022 was going to be better, even if their role changed. In fact, that might be the most impressive part to me, both these guys have not sulked. Instead they’ve embraced the role change, in Crowe’s case he’s flatly relished it with flair.
I often caution speaking in certainty when discussing baseball and development, this is why. Inevitably someone you just got done calling stupid is gonna go out there and prove who really is without saying a word.
One thought on “Wil and Pete’s Excellent Adventure”
Let me tell ya somethin’, brother: Dillon Peters has been pumpin’ those 24-inch pythons all winter. Now hitters ask themselves just one question when they step up to that plate, jack: Whatcha gonna do, when Petersmania … runs wild … on … YOUUU?
But yeah, I’m also struggling to pin what has changed with him. Then again, I thought he looked solid in his relatively short time with Pittsburgh last year–not great, but solid. As much as they’ve been legitimate MLB lineups, the only one he’s faced that I’d call good is Milwaukee, and the score was already 6-1 when he entered.
I have enjoyed Crowe’s entertaining appearances so far. He’s looked just about dominant and strutted around like … well, a crow, hahaha. My thinking with him was that one time through a lineup isn’t usually enough for hitters to get a sense of what’s coming/working on that day from the five-pitch arsenal. It’s almost as likely to see no fastballs as all fastballs (of multiple types) in a given plate appearance. *So far* he’s been throwing his changeup a lot more with fewer fastballs, which I feel like hasn’t been unique to him on the staff, but not everyone throwing fewer fastballs has seen the same results, of course.