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Zach Duke's Pirates Career A Disappointment After Brilliant Rookie Campaign

Pat Lackey at WHYGAVS has a nice post about Zach Duke, who looks like he's about to be non-tendered by the Pirates, meaning he won't be back next year. There are a couple bits of wisdom here. One is that when a rookie is unexpectedly brilliant, there's often another shoe about to drop. This happened with Duke after his amazing 2005 rookie season, and it's happening with Garrett Jones this year. As Pat points out, Neil Walker could be a candidate for a rude awakening next year.

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The other, and I've written about this before here and at Bucs Dugout, is that Duke's career is a reminder that a pitcher doesn't necessarily deserve credit or blame for everything that happens when he's on the mound. Duke isn't a terrible pitcher; he has just looked like one at various points in his Pirates tenure because some of their defenses have been so bad. This is because, since he strikes out and walks few batters, he depends very heavily on his defense to make outs for him. If the defense is bad, his numbers will be bad. The flipside of that is that if he pitches for a good defensive team, he might put up great numbers, but he won't necessarily deserve credit for those, either.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.