Jeffrey Alan Locke
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 6' 2", Weight 180 lb.
- High School Kennett High School (North Conway)
- Debut September 10, 2011
Jeff Locke was signed as by the Atlanta Braves and scout Lonnie Goldberg as a 2nd round pick in the 2006 amateur draft. He was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates on June 3, 2009, alongside Gorkys Hernandez and Charlie Morton in return for Nate McLouth.
Locke had the unfortunate assignment of facing Anibal Sanchez on one of his dominating days in his major league debut for the Pirates against the Florida Marlins on September 10, 2011. Locke pitched creditably, giving up 3 earned runs in 5 innings, but Sanchez was dazzling, limiting the Bucs to one hit as he blanked them, 3-0. He went 0-3, 6.48 in 4 starts in his first taste of the big leagues. He spent most of 2012 in the minors, but made another 8 appearances for Pittsburgh, going 1-3, 5.50. His first big league win came in his final appearance on October 1st, when he defeated the Atlanta Braves, 2-1, giving up only 2 hits in 6 innings.
Jeff made the Pirates' starting rotation out of spring training in 2013, aided by injuries to Francisco Liriano, Jeff Karstens and Morton. He beat out Kyle McPherson for the last roster spot and capped a solid month of April, during which he went 3-1 with a couple of very solid starts after being a loser in his first start. On April 23rd, he gave up no runs on 2 hits to the Philadelphia Phillies, and on April 28th pitched another 7 scoreless innings, allowing only 3 hits. He was credited with the win both times, and the second put the Pirates in first place in the NL East with their 15th win of the year, the most for them since the 1992 edition of the team. He continued to be unbeatable and extremely stingy in allowing runs over the next two months. On July 3rd, he defeated the Phillies, 6-5, to improve to 8-1 on the season. At that point, the former 5th starter was the last member of the Opening Day rotation still remaining healthy and was among the NL leaders in ERA. He was the first Pirate ever to go undefeated in 16 consecutive starts. He was named to the NL All-Star team as a reward for his outstanding first half. Locke took a loss in his next start to end his streak, but it was hardly a poor effort as he dropped a 2-1 decision to Bartolo Colon and the Oakland A's. He was then scratched from his scheduled start on July 14th with lower back stiffness and also bowed out of the Midsummer Classic as a result. On September 12th, he won for the first time since July 21st when he defeated the Chicago Cubs, 3-1, for his 10th win of the season. The win also allowed the Pirates to tie the St. Louis Cardinals for first place in the NL Central. He ended up with a record of 10-7, 3.52 in 30 starts, logging 166 1/3 innings. He led the NL with 84 walks and did not pitch in the postseason.
In 2014, he struggled with his health and was limited to 21 starts. He went 7-6, 3.91, but once again did not play in the postseason. He pitched one of the best games of his career on July 4, 2015, when he allowed only two hits in 8 innings to defeat the Cleveland Indians, 1-0, with Mark Melancon getting the save; both hits were 2nd-inning singles and he retired the last 19 batters he faced in order. He had fought Vance Worley for the 5th spot in the rotation; both men actually opened the year in the rotation as Charlie Morton started on the DL, but Worley moved to the bullpen when Morton returned, Locke holding on to the 5th spot. Jeff made 30 starts for the Pirates, going 8-11, 4.49, weak results on a team that had the second-best record in the major leagues. The Pirates were again forced to play the Wild Card Game that season, and since ace Gerrit Cole got the starting assignment and lost the game against the Chicago Cubs, Locke was again kept inactive in postseason play.
On May 30, 2016, he recorded the first shutout of his career, and also the first complete game, as he defeated the Miami Marlins, 10-0, on three hits. He did not try to overpower batters, as he did not walk anyone and recorded a single strikeout. His ERA had been above 5.00 coming into the game, so the excellent performance was most welcome. However, it proved to be a rare highlight in the midst of a trying season. In 30 games and 19 starts, he went 9-8 but with an ERA of 5.44 and 151 hits and 44 walks allowed in 127 1/3 innings. He spent the last couple of months working primarily out of the bullpen. He did lead an injury-riddled staff in innings pitched. On November 29th, the Pirates decided to cut ties with him, having him designated for assignment to make room on their roster for Lisalverto Bonilla. On December 12th, he signed a one-year deal with the Miami Marlins for just over $3 million.
- NL All-Star (2013)