Ray Searage has been the Pittsburgh Pirates pitching coach since August of 2010, and was named full time pitching coach when Manager Clint Hurdle came to the Pirates. He is certainly a familiar face when looking at the Pirates, but what he does behind the scenes for the pitchers is rather remarkable.
When you look at the Pirates, Searage is really the mastermind behind the pitchers for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He is well known around the MLB for helping washed up pitchers revive their careers with bounce back seasons. We can sit here all we want and say that it may have been luck of the draw that AJ Burnett, Edison Volquez, and Francisco Liriano all turned their careers around while in Pittsburgh, but really, it was more than just luck. When you look at the way these men pitched, and pitch, for the Pirates, it is much more than just luck.
Ray Searage analyzes every single pitch every single pitcher on the Pirates throws. He sits there and analyzes every single arm movement, every leg kick, and every motion that the pitchers make. Searage has been able to analyze these “washed up” pitchers like Burnett, Volquez, and Liriano, and fix the issues they had in their throwing motion. Coming from a former big leaguer himself, Searage knows what it takes to be successful as a professional pitcher.
Although Liriano is the only one of these three pitchers left on the Pirates roster, there are several others that have the potential to keep the streak alive of having a washed up pitcher make a come back. Ryan Vogelsong has had a long career in the MLB, but it hasn’t been the greatest career in recent time. Fortunately for Vogelsong, he will have the help of Searage to get his game back on track. So far this spring, he hasn’t been stellar, but he has been able to tweak a few motions in his delivery that has really improved his pitches thanks to the help of Searage. Since it is still early, there is a tremendous amount of opportunity for Searage to get Vogelsong back on track. Only time will tell if he, and Jon Niese, another off season acquisition, will be able to have the same success as Burnett, Liriano and Volquez.
Since Jeff Locke has been given the nod as the fourth starter in the rotation, and Jon Niese has locked up the three spot, Vogelsong and Juan Nicasio will battle it out for the fifth spot. Juan Nicasio has been on an absolute tear this Spring Training so far. He has not given up a single run, earned and unearned, in 15 innings pitched thus far. Nicasio also has 24 strikouts in 15 innings pitched, which is absolutely stellar. Not only has he had a great Spring Training, Nicasio also had a pretty good bounce back year last season. He had an ERA in the high 3’s but looking at his advanced statistics such as opponent batting average, and strikeouts per 9, he pitched much better than his ERA showed.
With the help of Ray Searage, Juan Nicasio can be a phenomenal bottom of the rotation pitcher, and he will be able to produce double digit wins with a respectable ERA if given the chance.
Burgh Blog Writer
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