Remember Vance Worley? He was a pretty good pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies from 2010-2012 until they traded him to the Minnesota Twins, along with Trevor May, in exchange for outfielder Ben Revere. Once he got to the Twins, he completely fell apart. Well, now he is a pitcher in the Pittsburgh Pirates‘ system and he appears to be back on a track for success.
In his time with the Phillies, Worley went 18-13 with a 3.50 ERA. He showed decent stuff, striking out 7.7 batters per nine innings in his three years with the Phillies. When he showed up with the Twins, something went awry and he didn’t pitch nearly as well as he did in the National League with the Phillies.
In 48.2 innings with the Twins, Worley pitched to a 7.21 ERA with a 5.53 FIP. His strikeouts went way down, with just 4.62 K/9, and he got very unlucky in the home run department. He had a decent 47.1 ground ball percentage, but he somehow allowed 1.66 HR/9. His 15.5 percent home run to fly ball ratio was a sign of being unlucky, and it would have eventually regressed in a positive way if he would have been given more opportunity in 2013.
When the Pirates traded for Worley in exchange for cash considerations, it was hard to not get excited over what he could eventually bring to the Bucs’ rotation or bullpen in 2014. Pirates pitching coaches Ray Searage and Jim Benedict have shown the ability to fix pitchers, and Worley is hopefully the next pitcher to find success in the Pirates’ organization.
Worley spent time in extended spring training working with Benedict, and apparently they got some mechanical issues fixed. After getting his arm stretched out for a month or so, Worley made his debut in Triple-A for the Pirates in early May. He went six innings, throwing 75 pitches, allowing just five hits, no walks and one run while striking out four.
If Worley can continue to get his arm strength built up and pitch well in the minor leagues, there is a very good chance that he will get a chance to help the Pirates, either in the rotation or bullpen, at some point in 2014. With the bullpen and rotation both being shaky this season, there will certainly be an opportunity this summer. Worley just needs to earn it.