MLB

Pirates All 40: Can Chase De Jong deliver another solid year out of the bullpen?

Pirates All 40: Can Chase De Jong deliver another solid year out of the bullpen?

This is one in a series of stories covering members of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 40-man roster.

The pirates The pitching staff has been the subject of harsh criticism for quite some time. In 2022, there were definitely some lame ducks, but there were also a few intriguing names that could become solid members.

One such potentially solid member is Chase the young man.

De Jong, 28, has been something of an official since starting his major league career in 2017 with the Seattle Mariners.

The Pirates marked his fourth team in his five years of major league experience, and through 22, De Jong has been below average, to put it mildly.

Before the ’22 season, De Jong appeared in 24 games and had all the makings of a classic Quad-A player or a guy who could never take the much-needed extra step once he left Triple-A.

De Jong began the 22nd campaign in Indianapolis, and after three games, the Pirates decided to give De Jong the call up on April 21st.

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Used primarily as a starter in the minors, De Jong found a nice little niche in the bullpen as a reliable option.

Looking at some specific stats, De Jong performed well with runners in scoring position, holding teams to a .153/.287/.222 slash line, along with a .510 OPS.

There are some instances where De Jong may have gotten a little lucky, with his FIP at 4.75 and xFIP at 4.96, and his slugging percentage (34th percentile) and barrel% (27th percentile ), it makes sense to think so.

De Jong’s best month of work came during the dog days of summer in August, where he posted a 1.77 ERA in 20.1 innings pitched (the most he’s pitched in a single month) .

To go along with his 1.77 ERA, De Jong held opponents to a .125/.240/.156 slash line with a .396 OPS.

De Jong, at one point in the season, threw 19 consecutive scoreless innings (August 13 to September 9).

Whether it’s intentional or not, De Jong loves to throw his four-seam machine at the top of the zone, but despite the location, De Jong held opposing hitters to a .209 average.

De Jong’s best pitch, however, was his slider (29.2% usage). While De Jong’s average break on his slider was 4.4 inches, he seemed to get a fair amount of swings and misses with a whiff rate of around 41.4% and a poor batting average of . 170.

When the dust settled and the season came to a close, De Jong finished with a 2.64 ERA in 71.2 innings pitched (42 games). Even with a bloated final month of work (4.96 ERA), De Jong finished with an opposing slash line of .204/.299/.380 with a .679 OPS.

De Jong will never be a superstar or a stud, but he provides a much-needed innings eater and can provide a bit of a veteran presence in a relatively young pitching staff heading into the 2023 season.

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