Pittsburgh Pirates' Vance Worley Making His Case to Remain in Rotation in 2015

Ryan GauleCorrespondent ISeptember 2, 2014

Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Vance Worley (46) delivers during the first inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds in Pittsburgh Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

The road to the majors is often a long and difficult travel.    

However, getting there may be a bit easier than remaining there, as has been the case for Pittsburgh Pirates' starting pitcher Vance Worley.  

Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

In 2011, Worley started 21 games for the Philadelphia Phillies, going 11-3 and helping his team cruise to the top of the National League East.  

The 2012 season was a completely different story for Worley and the Phillies, however, as he went 6-9 and posted a 4.20 ERA in 23 starts with the team.  

That offseason, he was traded to the Minnesota Twins for Ben Revere, where he did not fare well at all, posting a 7.21 ERA in 10 starts before being sent down to Triple-A.  

This past March, Worley's contract was purchased by Pittsburgh, and he pitched for Triple-A Indianapolis until June.  

When Worley was called up to start a game against the Miami Marlins on June 15 this year, it looked as if he had never left the majors. The veteran allowed no runs on just five hits in 7.0 innings pitched en route to a no-decision.  

Worley would go on to make three more consecutive starts in the rotation, going 2-1 while allowing seven earned runs in 20.2 innings pitched during that span.  

While he is accustomed to being sent down to the minors and then called back up again, it looks as if Worley may now be here to stay.  

After spending almost three weeks in the bullpen in July, Worley returned to the rotation on July 22, when he shut down the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers, allowing just one earned run in 6.0 innings pitched.  

Just five days later, Worley pitched one of the best games of his career, throwing a four-hit shutout against the San Francisco Giants.  

Very quietly, Worley has actually been one of the best pitchers this season for Pittsburgh, leading all Pirates starting pitchers with an ERA of just 3.01 in 86.2 innings pitched.  

The 26-year-old righty has remained in the Pirates' starting rotation since July 22, but if he continues to pitch well, he may remain in the Pirates' future plans.

The Pirates may lose two of their starting pitchers after this season, as both Francisco Liriano and Edinson Volquez will become free agents. Both veterans are over 30 years old, which probably won't fit general manager Neal Huntington's organizational plans.  

Of course, it is too early to start thinking about next season, as the Pirates are right in the thick of another playoff race.  

Still, if Worley can continue to pitch well deep into September and possibly even October, there is no reason to believe he won't be in consideration for a permanent rotation spot at the beginning of the 2015 regular season.   

*Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference