Pittsburgh Pirates Minors: Projecting Triple-A Indy’s Roster

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Pittsburgh Pirates
BRADENTON, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 20: J.T. Brubaker #65 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a portrait during the Pittsburgh Pirates Photo Day on February 20, 2019 at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Starting Rotation

This group shines a light on what will be the biggest issue for the Pittsburgh Pirates if the 2020 season is played – the starting rotation.

Entering the season there are plenty of question marks surrounding the Pirates starting rotation. Unfortunately, there is not much help on the horizon at the Triple-A level.

JT Brubaker has the highest ceiling of this group. Prior to missing most of the 2019 season due to injury, he appeared to be emerging as a solid middle of the rotation type prospect. After essentially a wasted 2019 season due to injury and now a screwed up 2020 season, who knows what Brubaker will bring to the table in 2020.

Hector Noesi was a minor league free agent signing by the Pirates in the off-season. The MLB veteran has pitched both as a starter and as a reliever in his career, but the Pirates appeared to be stretching him out to start this spring. His career results, however, suggest he is nothing more than minor league depth.

Cam Vieaux, James Marvel and Pedro Vasquez will all compete for spots in the Triple-A starting rotation as well. The problem is all three of these pitchers appear to have a ceiling of being a MLB long reliever.

Returning from Tommy John Surgery, Chad Kuhl could also be a factor here. However, the safe betting money would be on Kuhl starting the 2020 season at the MLB level, even if it is in the bullpen before building his arm strength back up and transitioning back to the starting rotation.

Starting pitchers – Cam Vieaux, Hector Noesi, James Marvel, JT Brubaker, Pedro Vasquez