A fifth starting pitcher
The Pirates have a strong top four in their starting rotation, however, the fifth spot in the rotation is a complete mystery. Due to this, someone needs to step up in the fifth and final starting rotation spot.
The offseason, obviously, is not over. Due to this, the team may add starting pitching between now and the start of the regular season. If this does not happen, then an internal option needs to step up.
It could be the newly signed Jordan Lyles. Maybe Steven Brault or Clay Holmes finally refine their control and become more consistent as starting pitchers. Nick Kingham or J.T. Brubaker could be options, too.
Whoever ends up as the team’s fifth starting pitcher, they only need to keep the seat warm until June when top prospect Mitch Keller arrives. Keller is one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball and will start the season at Triple-A. The always cost conscious Pirates will not call Keller up before the Super 2 date passes in early June, though.
Pitching wins in the game of baseball. With questions surrounding their offense, pitching will be vital for the Pirates in 2019. This makes someone stepping up and taking the final rotation spot by the horns important. The lack of a fifth starter is where the team may miss Chad Kuhl more than people anticipate.