A Look At What does the Pittsburgh Pirates’ newest pitcher bring to the organization?
After the Minnesota Twins signed Nelson Cruz they found themselves needed to create room for the slugger on their 40-man roster. In order to do so, they designated pitcher Aaron Slegers for assignment. This made Slegers available to the rest on baseball.
This past Friday, Slegers found a new home. As part of multiple moves made on Friday, the Pittsburgh Pirates claimed Slegers off waivers from the Twins. This move made Slegers the newest member of the Pirate organization.
Slegers was a 5th round draft choice by the Twins in 2013. To make room for Slegers on the 40-man roster, the Pirates designated pitcher Dario Agrazal for assignment.
The 6-foot-10 Slegers has a towering presence on the mound. He throws a four-seamed fastball that sits in the 91-93 miles per hour range, and he compliments it with a sinker and a slider/change up combination.
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With his towering frame, Slegers checks the box of pitching on a downward plane that the Pirates value. Another trait they value in pitchers in the ability to generate groundballs, which is also something that Slegers does well. Dating back to his time at High-A in 2015, Slegers has generated ground balls at least a 45% clip at each of his MiLB stops. Additionally, his career MLB groundball rate is 42.9%.
The last two seasons Slegers has pitched in 29 innings for the Twins. These 29 innings of work have come in five starts and three relief appearances. He owns a 5.90 ERA, 5.75 FIP, and a 3.3% walk rate. However, his strikeout rate is just 10.0% and he is allowing 1.86 HR/9.
When Spring Training begins, odds are, Slegers will be given an opportunity to earn a spot on the Pirates’ Opening Day roster. That said, his odds of making the Opening Day roster appear slim. Especially since the Pirates will likely want to use Slegers as a starting pitcher, and his best chance to work on his starting ability will come in the minors.
Slegers still has two minor league options remaining. This will allow the Pirates to option him to Triple-A, which is not always the case with waiver claims, to begin the season. By doing this Slegers can become a key depth piece for the Pirate pitching staff.
Look for Slegers to begin the season in the starting rotation for the Indianapolis Indians. Do not be surprised to see Slegers pitching in Pittsburgh at some point during the 2019 season.