Jeff Locke to Have Solid Season Pitching for Pittsburgh Pirates

Bill FordCorrespondent IIIJanuary 16, 2012

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 10:  Jeff Locke #61 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pithes in his first Major League game against the Florida Marlins during the game on September 10, 2011 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  The Marlins defeated the Piraets 3-0.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Left-handed pitcher Jeff Locke should be better prepared for the start of the 2012 season with the Pittsburgh Pirates

The Redstone, New Hampshire native, nicknamed the Redstone Rocket in high school, may not have done well in his first call-up to MLB, but 2012 could be different.

He gained some MLB experience last season, which will help him to prepare during the off-season and in spring training.

On Sept. 10, 2011, he got his first start in his MLB debut against the Florida Marlins. Although he recorded a loss, he gained some valuable experience.

He pitched four games during the rest of the season and went 0-3 with an ERA of 6.48. He only recorded five strikeouts all year.

These numbers may not be impressive, but remember that this was his first call-up to MLB. Nerves, jitters and a lack of experience can be a deadly combination for a rookie.

Now that he has had a bit of seasoning, 2012 should be calm for him. Pitching coaches will work with him on his pitching mechanics and condition him.

His fastball peaks at about 93 MPH. But, with coaching and conditioning, he should increase his velocity.

While being groomed in the minor league farm system, he received multiple pitching awards.

He was the Appalachian League Pitcher of the week of July 17, 2007. He was also an Appalachian League post-season All-Star.

Baseball America named him a Rookie All-Star in 2007, and he was the Carolina League Pitcher of the week of April 28, 2009.

Locke has great pitching skills, which he proved in the minor leagues. I think that this season could be a breakout season for him, and we could see remarkable pitching.

Keep your eyes on Jeff Locke this season. He may very well have a big year.