On Saturday the Pirates made a move to call up AAA Indianapolis starting pitcher Rookie Davis. This will help the Pirates’ current need for multiple starting pitchers.
While the Pirates are in a rain delay, here is an update on the team’s roster moves for today.
It was abundantly clear to every fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates that the team needed starting pitching help well before last night’s embarrassing loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Even though the Pirates did not act on this need before Friday night’s loss, the Pirates have decided to make a move on Saturday that may provide some needed relief.
Starting pitcher, Rookie Davis, has been called up to the Big Leagues. The Pirates corresponding move to free a spot on the 40-man roster was to place Chris Stratton on the ten day IL with right side discomfort. Unlike Stratton, who did not make very many appearances for the Pirates, Rookie will play an important role in the immediate future for the team. With a double header lurking just around the corner on Monday, I would put my money on Rookie Davis starting one of the games. The Pirates are still down two starting pitchers and have not announced the starters for either game yet.
Rookie Davis, is in fact, still a rookie in the Big Leagues. As of 2019, Rookie has not pitched 40 innings in the Majors and has not been on an active roster for 45 days before September 1st. In 2017, Rookie made six starts for the Cincinnati Reds, pitching to an ERA of 8.63 over 24 innings. After hitting free agency, the Pirates signed Rookie Davis before the start of the 2019 to pitch in the Indianapolis rotation. While Rookie Davis has not had a stellar season for Indianapolis, pitching to a 5.35 ERA over seven starts and 37 innings, he has pitched better in his last two starts. Over his last two outings, Rookie has pitched 13 innings while only giving up three earned runs.
While some might have expected to Pirates to call up top prospect, Mitch Keller, or starting pitcher Dario Agrazal, the Pirates chose to go with Rookie. This could be for a number of reasons. The Pirates may like how Rookie matches up against either the Dodgers or the Reds on Monday, the Pirates may feel like Keller and Agrazal need more minor league development, or the Pirates may just be going with the option that is most likely to get them deep into a game.
I think that the Pirates’ reasoning is a combination of the latter two thoughts. While both Keller and Agrazal have pitched well for the Indianapolis Indians this year, both have limited innings at the AAA level. In addition, Rookie has walked only two batters over his last three starts. While Agrazal limits free passes, Keller is still struggling to find complete control over his pitches and has walked 20 over 47 innings this season. Either way, seeing how poorly the opener strategy has gone for the Pirates recently, I hope that the team does call up either Keller or Agrazal in the near future as both would make great additions to the Major League roster.
In addition to adding Rookie Davis to the 40 man roster the Pirates have sent Michael Feliz back down to AAA Indianapolis after being crushed by ex-Pirate David Freese on Friday. Replacing Feliz will be Dovydas Neverauskas. Neverauskas has been with the Big League club before and has given up 42 earned runs in 54 innings. For as much as Feliz struggled with the Pirates this year, it does not feel like the team is upgrading the bullpen with this move.