Which Non-Roster Invitee Could Make the Pittsburgh Pirates Opening Day Roster?
By Marty Leap
Left-handed pitcher Robbie Erlin
Last week the Pirates signed a pair of veteran left-handed pitchers to minor league contracts. One of these pitchers was six-year MLB veteran Robbie Erlin.
Erlin has pitched all six of his MLB seasons with the San Diego Padres. He has been in the Majors since 2013, and he missed the entirety of the 2017 season due to Tommy John Surgery.
With the Padres Erlin pitched in 106 games with 38 of them being starts. With the Pirates, Erlin is expected to factor into the team’s left-handed reliever equation. To be honest, barring injury in Spring Training Erlin should be all but a lock to make the Opening Day roster.
While Erlin’s career 4.57 ERA leaves something to be desired, his 3.59 FIP paints a different picture. He has also been very effective in his career as a reliever. In his 73 career relief appearances Erlin owns a 3.86 ERA, 3.33 FIP, 3.9% walk rate, and a 21.1% strikeout rate.
Last season Erlin’s fastball and curveball both had above league average spin rate. His fastball was in the 64th percentile while his curve was in the 66th percentile. Not only should fans expect Erlin to be part of the Pirates’ Opening Day roster, if he does pitch solely out of the bullpen, fans should also expect him to pitch well which in turn could make him an attractive trade chip for contending teams in July.