MLB

Pittsburgh Pirates Starter Jeff Locke Has Massive Future

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Pirates lost 2-0 on Friday night to the Miami Marlins. Jeff Locke took the loss to drop to 9-3 on the season (ERA now at 2.15), but he has been very good in 2013 (earning his first All-Star birth of many) and his future is bright.

Injuries in the rotation gave the 25-year-old a chance to win a spot on the MLB team out of Spring Training, and the highly touted prospect took full advantage and has not looked back. When you look at specific reasons why the Pirates will win more games in 2013 than they will lose, the already crafty lefty will factor in, big-time.

Locke has pitched very well at PNC Park, which of course is exciting for the future, but where he has been most impressive is how good he has been on the road. Friday’s loss was a rare decent-at-best road performance as he is usually very good on foreign mounds. Locke yielded a whopping 14 hits and walks combined in 6 2/3 innings, but did record a career-high nine strikeouts. Despite allowing base runners all night Locke was able to get out of jams and the Marlins scored just a pair of runs off of him.

In Locke’s three losses this season, the Pirates have tallied three total runs. Every fifth day he uses his good fastball, and effective change-up and curve ball to keep his team in every game. He became a Pirate along with Charlie Morton and Gorkys Hernandez (later traded for Gaby Sanchez) in exchange for Nate McLouth. A move that is paying massive dividends for the ’13 Pirates (and going forward).

Locke is at his best when inducing ground balls, but even when opponents do get the ball airborne, it rarely leaves the park, especially on the road. The baby-face pitcher is legit now, and his future looks very bright as well. Long suffering Pirates fans have a budding fan-fave in the making with this young man.

Craig Ballard is a NFL/NBA/MLB writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @craigballard77, and you can find all of his articles HERE