Biographical

Portrait of Zach Duke

Zach Duke PBrewers

Brewers Player Cards | Brewers Team Audit | Brewers Depth Chart

2014 Rest-of-Season Projections (seasonal age 31)
IP ERA WHIP SO W L SV WARP
0.3 3.85 1.25 0 0 0 0 0.0
Birth Date4-19-1983
Height6' 2"
Weight210 lbs
Age31 years, 6 months, 2 days
BatsL
ThrowsL
-0.92010
0.42011
0.42012
0.32013
1.32014
+proj
WARP Summary

Standard

YEAR TEAM AGE G GS IP IP-SP IP-RP W L SV BS QS BQS PA H R ER HR TB BB UBB HBP SO ERA FIP FRA VORP WARP
2005 PIT 22 14 14 84.7 84.7 0.0 8 2 0 0 9 1 341 79 20 17 3 107 23 21 2 58 1.81 2.97 3.67 15.2 1.6
2006 PIT 23 34 34 215.3 215.3 0.0 10 15 0 0 18 2 935 255 116 107 17 372 68 62 7 117 4.47 4.09 4.45 29.2 3.3
2007 PIT 24 20 19 107.3 104.3 3.0 3 8 0 0 7 0 482 161 74 66 14 245 25 23 3 41 5.53 4.89 5.71 4.8 0.6
2008 PIT 25 31 31 185.0 185.0 0.0 5 14 0 0 14 0 829 230 111 99 19 351 47 46 7 87 4.82 4.38 5.22 4.7 0.6
2009 PIT 26 32 32 213.0 213.0 0.0 11 16 0 0 21 0 891 231 101 96 23 356 49 49 3 106 4.06 4.20 5.03 8.9 0.8
2010 PIT 27 29 29 159.0 159.0 0.0 8 15 0 0 12 0 730 212 115 101 25 337 51 49 4 96 5.72 4.98 5.31 -7.1 -0.9
2011 ARI 28 21 9 76.7 51.0 25.7 3 4 1 0 3 0 338 101 42 42 6 143 19 19 1 32 4.93 3.96 4.76 4.8 0.4
2012 WAS 29 8 0 13.7 0.0 13.7 1 0 0 0 0 0 56 11 2 2 0 15 4 4 0 10 1.32 2.55 2.51 3.1 0.4
2013 CIN 30 14 0 10.7 0.0 10.7 0 1 0 0 0 0 41 8 1 1 1 12 2 2 0 7 0.84 3.49 2.46 2.8 0.3
2013 WAS 30 12 1 20.7 3.3 17.3 1 1 0 1 0 0 101 31 22 20 2 45 8 5 1 11 8.71 4.52 5.04 -0.4 -0.1
2014 MIL 31 74 0 58.7 0.0 58.7 5 1 0 5 0 0 238 49 19 16 3 66 17 16 0 74 2.45 2.11 2.70 10.7 1.3
Career2891691144.71015.7129.0557716843498213686235671132049313296286394.464.154.7776.78.3

Advanced

'opp' stats - Quality of opponents faced - have been moved and are available only as OPP_QUAL in the Statistics reports now.
Minor league stats are currently shownClick to hide.
YEAR Team Lg G GS IP FRA FRA+ TAv oppAVG oppOBP oppSLG oppTAv BABIP PPF PVORP PWARP VORP WARP
2003 HIC A 26 26 141.7 0.00 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 .000 .280 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
2004 LYN A+ 17 17 97.0 0.00 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 .000 .278 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
2004 ALT AA 9 9 51.3 0.00 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 .000 .262 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
2005 PIT MLB 14 14 84.7 3.67 122 .219 .263 .326 .419 .260 .298 102 15.9 1.6 15.2 1.6
2005 IND AAA 16 16 108.0 5.05 89 .241 .270 .339 .426 .253 .308 89 4.6 0.4 3.4 0.3
2006 PIT MLB 34 34 215.3 4.45 104 .271 .261 .323 .417 .259 .328 95 22.6 2.2 29.2 3.3
2007 PIT MLB 20 19 107.3 5.71 82 .302 .260 .321 .413 .252 .368 101 1.2 0.1 4.8 0.6
2007 SCO A- 1 1 5.7 5.33 81 .165 .257 .339 .328 .248 .176 98 -0.1 -0.0 -0.1 -0.0
2007 IND AAA 1 1 3.7 5.63 69 .339 .254 .316 .391 .236 .467 93 -0.3 -0.0 -0.5 -0.1
2007 PIR Rk 2 2 6.7 5.47 81 .227 .234 .304 .324 .235 .250 96 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
2008 PIT MLB 31 31 185.0 5.22 88 .281 .264 .326 .414 .259 .315 100 4.2 0.4 4.7 0.6
2009 PIT MLB 32 32 213.0 5.03 84 .262 .254 .318 .401 .254 .293 96 3.6 0.4 8.9 0.8
2010 PIT MLB 29 29 159.0 5.31 68 .327 .257 .321 .405 .267 .338 92 -6.2 -0.7 -7.1 -0.9
2010 ALT AA 2 2 7.0 6.98 23 .211 .253 .312 .397 .250 .190 87 -0.9 -0.1 -1.3 -0.1
2011 ARI MLB 21 9 76.7 4.76 86 .292 .249 .308 .385 .253 .339 100 0.5 0.1 4.8 0.4
2011 VIS A+ 1 1 5.0 3.00 137 .182 .292 .367 .469 .294 .333 94 1.7 0.2 1.7 0.2
2011 RNO AAA 1 1 5.3 10.57 16 .302 .279 .350 .451 .266 .263 109 -1.4 -0.1 -1.4 -0.1
2012 WAS MLB 8 0 13.7 2.51 142 .203 .264 .324 .418 .270 .262 100 3.0 0.3 3.1 0.4
2012 SYR AAA 26 26 164.3 5.83 76 .250 .258 .327 .390 .253 .297 101 -9.9 -1.0 -10.1 -1.2
2013 CIN MLB 14 0 10.7 2.46 144 .198 .250 .306 .389 .250 .226 109 2.3 0.2 2.8 0.3
2013 WAS MLB 12 1 20.7 5.04 77 .333 .248 .311 .390 .259 .367 101 -0.9 -0.1 -0.4 -0.1
2013 LOU AAA 26 0 27.7 4.50 98 .186 .254 .326 .380 .253 .274 101 2.5 0.3 2.5 0.3
2014 MIL MLB 74 0 58.7 2.70 133 .217 .254 .317 .387 .263 .322 100 10.6 1.2 10.7 1.3

Statistics For All Levels

Minor league stats are currently shownClick to hide.
Year Team Lg W L SV G GS IP H BB SO HR GB% BABIP H/9 BB/9 HR/9 K/9 WHIP ERA VORP WARP
2003 HIC A 8 7 0 26 26 141.7 124 46 113 7 0% .280 7.9 2.9 0.4 7.2 1.20 3.11 0.0 0.0
2004 ALT AA 5 1 0 9 9 51.3 41 10 36 2 0% .262 7.2 1.8 0.4 6.3 0.99 1.58 0.0 0.0
2004 LYN A+ 10 5 0 17 17 97.0 73 20 106 3 0% .278 6.8 1.9 0.3 9.8 0.96 1.39 0.0 0.0
2005 IND AAA 12 3 0 16 16 108.0 108 23 66 8 52% .308 9.0 1.9 0.7 5.5 1.21 2.92 3.4 0.3
2005 PIT MLB 8 2 0 14 14 84.7 79 23 58 3 50% .298 8.4 2.4 0.3 6.2 1.20 1.81 15.2 1.6
2006 PIT MLB 10 15 0 34 34 215.3 255 68 117 17 54% .328 10.7 2.8 0.7 4.9 1.50 4.47 29.2 3.3
2007 PIT MLB 3 8 0 20 19 107.3 161 25 41 14 53% .368 13.5 2.1 1.2 3.4 1.73 5.53 4.8 0.6
2007 PIR Rk 0 0 0 2 2 6.7 5 2 3 0 80% .250 6.7 2.7 0.0 4.0 1.04 1.34 0.0 0.0
2007 SCO A- 1 0 0 1 1 5.7 3 2 3 0 47% .176 4.7 3.2 0.0 4.7 0.88 1.58 -0.1 -0.0
2007 IND AAA 0 1 0 1 1 3.7 7 2 1 0 60% .467 17.0 4.9 0.0 2.4 2.43 4.86 -0.5 -0.1
2008 PIT MLB 5 14 0 31 31 185.0 230 47 87 19 50% .315 11.2 2.3 0.9 4.2 1.50 4.82 4.7 0.6
2009 PIT MLB 11 16 0 32 32 213.0 231 49 106 23 50% .293 9.8 2.1 1.0 4.5 1.31 4.06 8.9 0.8
2010 PIT MLB 8 15 0 29 29 159.0 212 51 96 25 49% .338 12.0 2.9 1.4 5.4 1.65 5.72 -7.1 -0.9
2010 ALT AA 0 0 0 2 2 7.0 5 1 1 1 50% .190 6.4 1.3 1.3 1.3 0.86 2.57 -1.3 -0.1
2011 RNO AAA 1 0 0 1 1 5.3 7 1 2 2 52% .263 11.8 1.7 3.4 3.4 1.50 8.44 -1.4 -0.1
2011 ARI MLB 3 4 1 21 9 76.7 101 19 32 6 50% .339 11.9 2.2 0.7 3.8 1.57 4.93 4.8 0.4
2011 VIS A+ 1 0 0 1 1 5.0 5 0 4 0 40% .333 9.0 0.0 0.0 7.2 1.00 1.80 1.7 0.2
2012 WAS MLB 1 0 0 8 0 13.7 11 4 10 0 40% .262 7.2 2.6 0.0 6.6 1.10 1.32 3.1 0.4
2012 SYR AAA 15 5 0 26 26 164.3 178 39 91 16 53% .297 9.7 2.1 0.9 5.0 1.32 3.51 -10.1 -1.2
2013 LOU AAA 2 0 2 26 0 27.7 19 5 34 2 52% .274 6.2 1.6 0.7 11.1 0.87 1.30 2.5 0.3
2013 CIN MLB 0 1 0 14 0 10.7 8 2 7 1 41% .226 6.8 1.7 0.8 5.9 0.94 0.84 2.8 0.3
2013 WAS MLB 1 1 0 12 1 20.7 31 8 11 2 54% .367 13.5 3.5 0.9 4.8 1.89 8.71 -0.4 -0.1
2014 MIL MLB 5 1 0 74 0 58.7 49 17 74 3 60% .322 7.5 2.6 0.5 11.4 1.12 2.45 10.7 1.3

Plate Discipline

YEAR PITCHES ZONE_RT SWING_RT CONTACT_RT Z_SWING_RT O_SWING_RT Z_CONTACT_RT O_CONTACT_RT SW_STRK_RT
2008 2834 0.5247 0.4753 0.8745 0.6247 0.3103 0.9300 0.7512 0.1225
2009 3034 0.5178 0.4827 0.8579 0.5983 0.3582 0.9287 0.7309 0.1393
2010 2629 0.4713 0.4572 0.8394 0.6053 0.3252 0.9253 0.6969 0.1581
2011 1213 0.4765 0.4732 0.8519 0.6799 0.2850 0.9059 0.7348 0.1481
2012 216 0.3935 0.4769 0.7864 0.6235 0.3817 0.8868 0.6800 0.2136
2013 504 0.4206 0.4722 0.7815 0.6462 0.3459 0.8759 0.6535 0.2185
2014 975 0.4144 0.4338 0.7116 0.5743 0.3345 0.8448 0.5497 0.2837
Career114050.48890.46920.83990.61570.32880.91550.70860.1576

Injury History

Date On Date Off Transaction Days Games Side Body Part Injury Severity Surgery Date Reaggravation
2011-03-22 2011-05-27 15-DL 66 50 Left Hand Recovery From Fracture -
2011-03-13 2011-03-22 Camp 9 0 Left Hand Fracture -
2010-06-17 2010-07-11 15-DL 24 22 Left Elbow Strain Flexor Pronator Mass -
2007-06-29 2007-09-11 60-DL 74 66 Left Elbow Inflammation Tendonitis and Ulnar Collateral Ligament -
2005-08-24 2005-09-15 15-DL 22 19 Left Ankle Sprain -

Compensation

Year Team Salary
2014 MIL $850,000
2013 WAS $700,000
2011 ARI $3,500,000
2010 PIT $4,300,000
2009 PIT $2,200,000
2008 PIT $400,000
2007 PIT $410,000
2006 PIT $335,000
YearsDescriptionSalary
8 yrPrevious$11,845,000
2011Current$850,000
9 yrPvs + Cur$12,695,000
9 yrTotal$12,695,000

 

Service TimeAgentContract Status
7 y 54 dMark Pieper1 year/$0.85M (2014)

Details
  • 1 year/$0.85M (2014). Signed by Milwaukee as a free agent 1/15/14 (minor-league contract). Contract selected by Milwaukee 3/14.
  • 1 year/$0.7M (2013). Re-signed by Washington as a free agent 12/3/12. DFA by Washington 6/4/13. Released 6/10/13. Signed by Cincinnati as a free agent 6/13/13 (minor-league contract). Released by Cincinnati 8/3/13. Re-signed by Cincinnati as a free agent 8/12/13 (minor-league contract). Contract selected by Cincinnati 8/30/13.
  • 1 year (2012). Signed by Houston as a free agent 1/27/12 (minor-league contract). Released by Houston 3/27/12. Signed by Washington as a free agent 3/29/12 (minor-league contract). Contract purchased by Washington 9/1/12.
  • 1 year/$4.25M (2011), plus 2012 club option. Signed by Arizona 12/2/10 (avoided arbitration). 11:$3.5M, 12:$5.5M club option, $0.75M buyout). Arizona declined 2012 option 10/31/11.
  • 1 year/$4.3M (2010). Re-signed by Pittsburgh 1/19/10 (avoided arbitration). acquired by Arizona in trade from Pittsburgh 11/24/10 after being DFA 11/19/10.
  • 1 year/$2.2M (2009). Re-signed by Pittsburgh 1/20/09 (avoided arbitration).
  • 1 year/$0.4M (2008). Renewed by Pittsburgh 3/10/08.
  • 1 year/$0.41M (2007). Re-signed by Pittsburgh 3/07.
  • 1 year/$0.335M (2006). Renewed by Pittsburgh 3/06.
  • 1 year (2005). Contract purchased by Pittsburgh 7/05.
  • Drafted by Pittsburgh 2001 (20-594) (Midway HS, Waco, Texas).

2014 Preseason Forecast

Last Update: 3/11/2014 05:35 ET

PCT W L SV G GS IP H BB SO HR BABIP WHIP ERA FRA VORP WARP
90o 4.9 4.3 0.1 25 12 86.7 80 19 51 10 .278 1.14 3.71 4.03 9.8 1.0
80o 4.4 4.2 0.1 23 11 80.5 80 19 47 10 .292 1.22 4.07 4.43 5.3 0.5
70o 4 4.1 0.1 22 11 76.0 79 18 44 9 .301 1.28 4.34 4.72 2.5 0.3
60o 3.7 4 0.1 21 10 72.3 78 18 42 9 .309 1.33 4.58 4.98 0.3 0.0
50o 3.5 3.9 0.1 20 10 68.9 77 18 40 9 .317 1.37 4.80 5.22 -1.5 -0.1
40o 3.2 3.9 0.1 19 9 65.6 76 18 38 9 .325 1.42 5.02 5.46 -3.1 -0.3
30o 3 3.8 0.1 18 9 62.1 74 17 36 9 .333 1.47 5.27 5.73 -4.6 -0.5
20o 2.7 3.7 0.1 17 8 58.0 72 17 34 9 .343 1.54 5.56 6.04 -6.1 -0.6
10o 2.3 3.5 0 15 7 52.6 69 16 31 8 .357 1.63 5.96 6.48 -7.8 -0.8
Weighted Mean3.53.90.1201068.47518409.3161.364.775.19-1.2-0.1

Diagnostics

Breakout Rate Improve Rate Collapse Rate Attrition Rate MLB %
11% 29% 11% 15% 49%

Long-Term Forecast (Beyond the 2014 Projections)

Playing time estimates are based on performance, not Depth Charts.
Year Age W L SV G GS IP H BB SO HR GB% BABIP WHIP ERA FRA H/9 BB/9 K/9 HR/9 WARP
201532790442115518142862450.3241.445.275.7210.52.45.01.4-1.1
201633780401914016137742150.3161.425.245.7010.42.44.81.4-1.0
201734570321511213131571650.3211.455.385.8510.62.54.61.3-1.0
201835560281410011729531550.3201.465.445.9110.52.64.81.3-0.9
20193645026129010526471350.3201.455.285.7410.52.64.71.3-0.7
20203745024118410024441350.3231.485.515.9910.72.64.71.4-0.9
2021384502210768922401250.3181.465.435.9010.52.64.71.4-0.7
2022393402010718421361150.3201.495.505.9810.72.74.61.4-0.7
202340340209698221351150.3171.495.485.9610.62.74.51.4-0.7

Upside By Year

2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 PEAK 5
17.210.85.36.54.45.644.2

Comparable Players (Similarity Index 79)

Rank Score Name Year Run Average Trend
1 86 Josh Towers 2008 0.00 DNP
2 84 Victor Santos 2008 0.00 DNP
3 83 Nick Blackburn 2013 0.00 DNP
4 83 Boof Bonser 2013 0.00 DNP
5 82 Mark Mulder 2009 0.00 DNP
6 82 Mike Sirotka 2002 0.00 DNP
7 81 John Burkett 1996 4.73
8 81 Charles Nagy 1998 5.95
9 81 Terry Mulholland 1994 7.01
10 81 Claude Osteen 1971 3.75
11 81 Russ Meyer 1955 5.67
12 81 Bob Friend 1962 3.41 DNP
13 80 Lenny DiNardo 2011 0.00 DNP
14 80 Sidney Ponson 2008 5.90
15 80 Bryn Smith 1987 4.85
16 80 Dick Ellsworth 1971 6.14
17 80 Gary Knotts 2008 0.00 DNP
18 80 John Smiley 1996 4.14
19 80 Kyle Snyder 2009 0.00 DNP
20 80 Dave Williams 2010 0.00 DNP
21 79 Bill Wegman 1994 4.98
22 79 Kevin Correia 2012 4.68
23 79 Mike Maroth 2009 0.00 DNP
24 79 Brian Moehler 2003 7.90
25 79 Chris Narveson 2013 0.00
26 79 Odalis Perez 2009 0.00 DNP
27 79 Erik Hanson 1996 6.00
28 79 Lee Stange 1968 4.72
29 79 Nate Robertson 2009 6.16
30 79 Mark Gubicza 1994 5.12
31 79 Jim Kaat 1970 4.30
32 79 Frank Lary 1961 3.82
33 79 Tim Stauffer 2013 3.75
34 79 Kirk Saarloos 2010 0.00 DNP
35 79 Curt Simmons 1960 3.35
36 79 Jack Kralick 1966 3.82
37 78 Luke Hudson 2008 0.00 DNP
38 78 Aaron Sele 2001 3.89
39 78 Zane Smith 1992 3.57
40 78 Andy Pettitte 2003 4.71
41 78 Jerome Williams 2013 4.94
42 78 Jaime Navarro 1998 7.04
43 78 Jack McDowell 1997 5.53
44 78 Runelvys Hernandez 2009 0.00 DNP
45 78 Doc Medich 1980 4.54
46 78 Scott McGregor 1985 5.21
47 78 Tommy John 1974 3.00
48 78 Casey Fossum 2009 2.25
49 78 Ron Reed 1974 3.63
50 78 Brett Myers 2012 4.13
51 78 Vern Ruhle 1982 4.89
52 78 Rick Reuschel 1980 3.85
53 78 Hal Newhouser 1952 4.76
54 78 Joe Blanton 2012 4.99
55 78 Mike Caldwell 1980 4.47
56 78 Alex Fernandez 2001 0.00 DNP
57 77 Andy Ashby 1999 4.15
58 77 Dustin Moseley 2013 0.00 DNP
59 77 Todd Stottlemyre 1996 4.03
60 77 Carl Erskine 1958 5.58
61 77 Doug Drabek 1994 3.17
62 77 Wandy Rodriguez 2010 4.38
63 77 Rheal Cormier 1998 0.00 DNP
64 77 Tomo Ohka 2007 6.27
65 77 Jerry Reuss 1980 2.90
66 77 Vicente Padilla 2009 4.64
67 77 Billy O'Dell 1964 5.82
68 77 Scott Downs 2007 2.33
69 77 Mike Moore 1991 3.21
70 77 Ray Culp 1973 5.72
71 77 Chris Bosio 1994 5.18
72 77 Gil Heredia 1997 0.00 DNP
73 77 Vida Blue 1981 2.89
74 77 Rick Wise 1977 4.77
75 77 Lance Cormier 2012 0.00 DNP
76 77 Horacio Ramirez 2011 7.00
77 77 Dock Ellis 1976 3.53
78 77 Paul Minner 1955 3.87
79 77 Chris Haney 2000 9.00
80 76 Brian Bannister 2012 0.00 DNP
81 76 Paul Abbott 1999 3.72
82 76 Moose Haas 1987 6.42
83 76 Rick Langford 1983 12.60
84 76 Gene Conley 1962 4.32 DNP
85 76 David Wells 1994 4.37
86 76 Dave Hillman 1959 3.96
87 76 Bob Shaw 1964 4.24
88 76 Dave Roberts 1976 4.36
89 76 Frank Tanana 1985 4.65
90 76 Kenny Rogers 1996 4.88
91 76 Pat Misch 2013 0.00 DNP
92 76 Frank Sullivan 1961 5.25
93 76 Willard Nixon 1959 0.00 DNP
94 76 Dave Bush 2011 6.51
95 76 Ken Holtzman 1977 6.78
96 76 Bruce Kison 1981 3.68
97 76 John Tudor 1985 2.23
98 76 Reggie Cleveland 1979 7.20
99 76 Atlee Hammaker 1989 3.87
100 76 Bob Welch 1988 3.94

Platoon

SORT_FIELD PLATOON AVG OBP SLG TAv
10 vs L (Multi) .299 .327 .409 .267
11 vs R (Multi) .307 .359 .471 .287
18 Split (Multi) -.007 -.032 -.062 -.020
19 LgAvg (Multi) -.026 -.032 -.063 -.030
30 vs L (2013) .327 .340 .388 .277
31 vs R (2013) .295 .367 .487 .297
38 Split (2013) .032 -.027 -.099 -.020
39 LgAvg (2013) -.025 -.031 -.062 -.029

BP Annual Player Comments

YearComment
2014 Due to publishing agreements, the 2014 player comments and team essays are only available in the Baseball Prospectus 2014 book (available in hardcopy, e-book, and Kindle).
2013 As sixth starters go, you could do a lot worse than Duke. The lefty doesn’t miss many bats, but he also seldom misses the strike zone, a skill that—with the Nationals’ quality defense—makes him a serviceable rotation option if injuries strike. Duke’s multimillion-dollar-paycheck days are in the rearview mirror, and after returning to Washington on a one-year deal, he’ll strive to become the new John Lannan. The Nationals survived 2012 without needing a rotation replacement to make more than six starts, but given the question marks surrounding Dan Haren’s back and the elbow troubles in Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann’s not-too-distant pasts, Duke may back into a double-digit assignment this year.
2012 First impressions are powerful. Duke is the equivalent of the guy who wears a snappy suit to an interview and lands a job, only to spend the next several years taking two-hour lunch breaks, using his phone for personal calls, and stealing paper from the printer. It’s hard to say how much Duke’s fluky 14-start debut in 2005 has to do with the chances he’s gotten since then—he is a lefty, after all—but among hurlers with at least 900 innings pitched over the intervening six seasons, only Aaron Cook has had a lower strikeout rate than Duke’s 4.5 per nine. A line drive fractured Duke’s hand in mid-March, keeping him out until late May, but once he did return, both his fastball velocity (86.5) and strikeout rate (3.8 per nine) plummeted, leaving him too dependent on his decent control and moderate groundball ability to get him out of trouble. In mid-July, he became a reliever, posting an improved ERA but an even sorrier strikeout rate. If he doesn’t stick in the bullpen, he won’t like what comes next.
2011 Duke's career with the Pirates started with so much promise in 2005, when he was called up from Triple-A in July and posted a 1.81 ERA in 84 1/3 innings. Nonetheless, his stay in Pittsburgh was terminated last November when he was traded to the Diamondbacks for a player to be named later. Part of the motivation for the deal was that Duke made $4.3 million last season and was eligible for arbitration again. The Pirates' reluctance to hand him a raise for this season was understandable; he was so many shades of awful of in 2010 that he could have populated the world's most unappealing box of crayons. He would have had the worst ERA in the major leagues if he had pitched the three additional innings necessary to qualify for the title. Duke threw as high as 93 mph as a rookie, but his stuff has deteriorated—his fastball topped out at 85 in some starts last season, while his curveball looked flat. In his new home he may see it flattened into the stands even more often than it was last year.
2010 During the first half of last season, Duke showed the form that made him a rookie sensation back in 2005 down the stretch, which combined with the selection process' tokenism got him selected to his first All-Star Game. He followed it with a disastrous second half, going 3-8 with a 5.17 in 14 starts. Duke's stuff has not been the same since he had elbow problems in 2007; though he has never had surgery, he has lost velocity off his fastball and bite on his curve. He still has value as an innings-eater, but his chances of becoming an above-average starter again are getting slimmer with each year he's further removed from 2005.
2009 Duke is running out of reasons as to why he has not repeated the success of his rookie season in 2005: he did not get along with pitching coach Jim Colborn in 2006, and he had arm problems in 2007, but last year he just got hammered, and there wasn't much to say or do other than strap on a helmet and take cover. Duke's going to have to start fooling some people some of the time in some of his starts lest he risk being remembered as a one-year wonder. Although he might plead for a bit of better defensive support, keep in mind that when a guy gets hit this hard this regularly for this many years, it's not all on the guys standing behind him.
2008 Duke's downfall came on the first day of spring training in 2006 when new pitching coach Jim Colborn decided to tinker with his pitching mechanics. It seemed like a bad idea considering Duke's 1.81 ERA in 14 starts a rookie in 2005, and it was. Duke has yet to regain that rookie form and missed a large chunk of last season with a sore elbow. He's too young to give up on, but is a cautionary tale of the evils of overcoaching.
2007 Duke had the third-highest hit rate in the National League in 2006 thanks to the NL`s highest BABIP (.336). The Pirates managed to place three qualifying starters among the ten worst BABIP rates in the league, the first time that`s happened since 1995 when Astros` Doug Drabek, Shane Reynolds and Greg Swindell pulled the trick--or, rather, had the trick pulled on them by the seven guys behind them. Those BABIP rankings are a consequence of Pittsburgh`s last-in-the-majors defensive efficiency rating (DER); no team was less successful at turning balls in play into outs last year. In fact, Pittsburgh`s .676 DER misses being the lowest rate since 1960 by just one percentage point (.01). In Duke`s case, the Pirates` defensive shortcomings were compounded by his own declining strikeout rate, which dropped to dangerous levels. About the worst thing that could happen for a pitcher whose defense is allowing a third of the balls in play to fall for hits is to allow more balls in play than ever before. Amazingly, he was able to keep the ball in the park and around the plate often enough to post a league-average ERA despite it all.
2006 In less than half a season`s worth of work, Duke logged the highest VORP of any NL rookie. Duke already boasted a plus fastball and curve, but what aided his breakthrough was the addition of a quality changeup to round out his repertoire. Throw in his ability to keep the ball in the infield and he`s the sort of pitcher nobody wants to face. The organization loves his dedication to the craft and his competitive drive, and the numbers and stuff say he`ll be a front-of-the-rotation hurler from here on out. Still, pitchers lead uncertain lives. For every Whitey Ford, who enjoyed a similar rookie campaign, there are two Joel Pineiros or Cal Eldreds.
2005 That projection might seem pretty modest, but keep Duke's age and lack of experience above A-ball in mind. It's also pretty hard to break out or improve on a season when you were the ERA leader for the entire minors. He's got exceptional mechanics and outstanding control, but this year he really started learning to be economical with his pitches. He needed to, because when you're rail-thin, everyone's going to fuss about whether or not you've got the stamina to start. Still, he can dial up heat into the low 90s, he's mastering a change, and he's got plus breaking stuff. If there's a prospect in this chapter with an upside you want a piece of, it's Duke.

BP Articles

Zach Duke is referenced in the following articles.

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  Title Author Date
Notes About Baseball: Very Important Baseball Question: Is A Hot Dog A Sandwich?Rocco DeMaro2014-09-26
This article requires BP Premium accessWhat You Need to Know: August 21, 2014Daniel Rathman2014-08-21
This article requires BP Premium accessWhat You Need to Know: August 11, 2014Chris Mosch2014-08-11
This article requires BP Premium accessWhat You Need to Know: August 11, 2014Daniel Rathman2014-08-11
This article requires BP Premium accessWhat You Need to Know: August 4, 2014Daniel Rathman2014-08-04
This article requires BP Fantasy or Premium accessFantasy Freestyle: Useful Non-Closer RelieversJ.P. Breen2014-07-23
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BP Chats

DateQuestionAnswer
2014-06-26 14:00:00 (link to chat)If the Brewers do make the move to bring up Jimmy Nelson and move Marco Estrada to the bullpen, they are going to need to clear room in the pen. Who are potential trade partners who could take one of their many pen lefties and what could we expect in return for say Tom Gorzelanny?
(BeerTheDeer from Milwaukee)
I'm not sure it's a foregone conclusion that Nelson replaces Estrada in the Brewers' bullpen, but Milwaukee is in a good spot w/ their plethora of lefties. Gorz, Will Smith, and Zach Duke can all handle righties and lefties -- with varying levels of dominance -- so they're not weighing their bullpen down w/ LOOGYs. If the Brewers do end up moving someone like Gorz, though, it would be for a lower-tier prospect or perhaps a utility guy. Nothing exciting. (J.P. Breen)
2010-12-20 13:00:00 (link to chat)With all of the zip code changes of aces this offseason, everyone has seemingly forgotten that Dan Haren was a huge part of trade talks last season. He went to the Angels and was "ehh." Do you see any of the pitchers who've switched teams struggling in their new role, or just not living up to lofty expectations immediately? This would extend to include the Shaun Marcums of the world, too.
(Henchman Holding Wrench from Underground Layer)
Yeah. Zach Duke. Because he stinks. (Eric Seidman)
2010-06-23 19:00:00 (link to chat)Hi Colin, Do the Bucs have any vets left to trade? Seems like only Mahom, Doumit, or Dotel may get back anything in return? And would they even get back a mid-level prospect? thanks Frank
(frank from vegas)
If Zach Duke was pitching better he'd be a useful trade piece, I think, although I don't know if that would make sense for the Pirates. But no, I think they're at a point where most anyone they have that's desirable is desirable to keep for them as well. (Colin Wyers)
2010-06-18 14:00:00 (link to chat)Does Ryan Doumit of Zach Duke bring any kind of return worth getting excited about? Could both get Martin Perez?
(Joe from Altoona)
Zach Duke is the type of guy I see as maybe 4th or 5th prize for an acquiring team. He doesn't have too solid of an established track record to make anyone excited, and most teams have a viable 4th or 5th starter with equal potential or upside. Doumit is interesting, but I cannot see the Rangers giving anything remotely valuable up for him. I don't think Duke+Doumit gets Perez. (Eric Seidman)
2009-07-13 14:00:00 (link to chat)Why are there 5 relievers on each All-Star team? Also, just like in the NBA we forever get All-Star Jamal Magloire, we now get All-Star Zach Duke and Ryan Franklin.
(Jon from DC)
I'd take more. What category of player is better prepared for an All-Star Game than a one-inning pitcher? (Joe Sheehan)
2009-07-09 13:00:00 (link to chat)Hi John, thanks for the chat. What's changed with Zach Duke? Can we expect him to keep rolling along putting up great numbers for the next couple of years?
(Dennis from Monterey Park, CA)
I think he's healthy, for one thing. His elbow bothered him the last few years more than he let on and he's able to throw his curveball without pain again. The curve really sets up the rest of his pitches. I think he's a good mid-rotation starter who will continue to be solid if he stays healthy. (John Perrotto)
2008-01-24 13:00:00 (link to chat)Do you have any favorite sleeper starting pitchers that you envision making a significant jump from marginal SP #5s to potential front-liners akin to Fausto Carmona last year?
(MB from New York, NY)
I have a sneaking suspicion Zach Duke of the Pirates is going to have a good year. He is healthy again and has a history with new pitching coach Jeff Andrews from their days together in the minor leagues. (John Perrotto)
2006-07-14 13:00:00 (link to chat)Will Zack Duke ever return to his late 2005 form or is he an "excel at first but never again" type prospect?
(Dave from Frisco, CA)
If you look at Duke's PECOTA card, you'll note that while the system is modestly bullish on him, it certainly doesn't consider him a sure thing, with such names among his comps as -

Sorry, hang on - I confused myself with Nate Silver there for a second. A reminder: My expertise is in stadiums and other off-field stuff, so let's try to stick to those areas. Though it is mighty tempting to spend the entire afternoon laughing and pointing at Wayne Krivsky. (Neil deMause)


BP Roundtables

DateRoundtable NameComment
2010-10-06 10:00:002010 Playoffs Day OneYou know, Zach Duke and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat Roy Halladay earlier this year . . . That makes me happy and a little disturbed. (Jesse Behr)
 

PITCHf/x Pitcher Profile

A Collaboration between BrooksBaseball.net and Baseball Prospectus - Pitch classifications provided by Pitch Info LLC


Zach Duke has thrown 11,597 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2007 and 2014, including pitches thrown in the MLB Regular Season and Spring Training. In 2014, he has relied primarily on his Sinker (91mph) and Curve (77mph), also mixing in a Slider (84mph) and Fourseam Fastball (89mph). He also rarely throws a Cutter (87mph) and Change (85mph).