The Pittsburgh Pirates had numerous issues during the 2019 season, including their pitching staff. Even the team’s bullpen suffered due to losing two key parts to injuries.
In terms of best young, up and coming bullpens, the Pittsburgh Pirates are in a great spot. While bullpens are often highly volatile and can be hard to project, it never hurts to have numerous young power arms like the Bucs do. In fact, the team has so many potential bullpen candidates that they have already sent down Spring Training standouts Nick Mears and Blake Cederlind.
The Bucs could have had an even stronger bullpen heading into 2020 if it were not for the problems over the last year and a half. Heading into last season the team knew that rookie standout Edgar Santana would miss his entire age 27 season after undergoing Tommy-John surgery in 2018. Then only a few weeks into the 2020 regular season, the Pittsburgh Pirates lost reliever Nick Burdi for the year, which cost him most of his age 26 season. Obviously those were valuable innings for two relievers in their mid-20s to miss.
The good news is that both Santana and Burdi look more than ready to go for the 2020 season. Burdi has already hit 100 miles per hour many times this spring, including twice in his last appearance. Santana also has looked like his old self with a fastball sitting in the mid-90s.
Both have posted very inspiring numbers this fall. So far Santana has pitched five innings over five games. He has yet to give up a hit, a walk, or a hit batter and has an ERA of 0.00. He also has struck out four hitters in the process. Burdi also had pitched in five games and 4.2 innings. In those outings, he has regularly lit up the radar gun and has struck out eight hitters already. The only run he has given up came on a solo shot.
Not only have both Santana and Burdi looked physically fine, but they also have posted really strong numbers. This is good news and should continue to help boost their confidence that they are indeed healthy and ready to compete. If both can stay healthy and pitch close to their potential, then the Pittsburgh Pirates could have a really dynamic bullpen entering 2020.