Five Triple-A Players That Can Help The Pittsburgh Pirates In 2017

Mar 6, 2017; Bradenton, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Austin Meadows (77) at bat against the New York Yankees at Lecom Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 6, 2017; Bradenton, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Austin Meadows (77) at bat against the New York Yankees at Lecom Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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Jun 10, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher A.J. Schugel (31) pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals during the third inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 10, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher A.J. Schugel (31) pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals during the third inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

Right-handed relief pitcher A.J. Schugel and Edgar Santana

During a Major League season, no spot on a roster sees more changes and overturn than the bullpen. This is for a variety of reasons.

Teams will have relievers that struggle and relievers that get hurt. There will be long extra inning games or stretches where a team’s starting rotation struggles to force a team to need extra bullpen arms.

This makes having good bullpen depth very important. The Pittsburgh Pirates have strong bullpen depth at Triple-A. A.J. Schugel and Edgar Santana are the two best, most talented of this bunch.

To be honest, Schugel should have made the Pirate roster out of Spring Training. He posted a 3.19 FIP in 52 innings pitched for the Pirates in 2016. In these 52 innings, he averaged 7.96 K/9, 2.25 BB/9, and he allowed just four home runs.

Schugel also possesses an absolutely devastating changeup. In 2016 opposing batters had just a .216 slugging percentage, .130 wOBA, and a wRC+ of -14 off of Schugel’s changeup in 2016. Despite his 2016 success, Schugel has started the year at Triple-A.

As for Edgar Santana, he is preparing for his first full season at Triple-A. The 25-year-old Santana possesses swing and miss stuff with a plus fastball and a wipeout slider. At some point in 2017, Santana will make his Major League debut for the Pittsburgh Pirates. And he could be a vital member of the Pirate bullpen for a long time.

Pirate fans can expect to see both A.J. Schugel and Edgar Santana pitching out of the Pirate bullpen at some point in 2017. The first time the Pirates dip into Triple-A for bullpen help, odds are, the first player they will call upon is Schugel. And Santana may not be far behind.