As the Pittsburgh Pirates begin to prepare to set their Opening Day roster, there is a case to be made for relief prospect Blake Cederlind make the team
The 2020 Major League Baseball season will be unlike any other in baseball history. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, baseball has been on pause since mid-March. However, after a long and painful process, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the rest of MLB are set to return to the field this week.
When the Pittsburgh Pirates and the rest of MLB hit the field this week they will start to train for a 60-game season that will begin later this month. This season will create opportunities and lead to plenty of things that are not the norm. That will likely include young prospects that typically would not see MLB time, earning MLB time.
For the Pittsburgh Pirates, one of these young prospects is right-handed pitcher Blake Cederlind. ‘Baby Thor’ as he became known by fans, due to his blonde flowing locks and power fastball, was turning heads in Grapefruit League before play was shutdown. While he was not going to make the Pirates’ roster out of spring training, coming out spring training 2.0 he will have an opportunity to do so.
As many of you know, Cederlind possesses a fastball that can touch 100+ MPH. This pitch also has a wicked about of sink and spin to it, making it a ground ball inducing machine. He also mixes in a slider, and on occasion a change up.
With the start of the 2020 season just a hair over three weeks away, the Pittsburgh Pirates will be looking to figure out their bullpen. With a 30-man roster to start the season, the team will likely have a 10-man bullpen.
When the season starts, Keone Kela, Kyle Crick, Nick Burdi, Michael Feliz, Richard Rodriguez, Clay Holmes, and whoever does not win the final starting rotation spot between Chad Kuhl and Steven Brault all seem like safe bets to be in the team’s Opening Day bullpen.
This leaves three spots available in the bullpen. While out-of-options pitchers such as Dovydas Neverauskas and Chris Stratton, as well as Robbie Erlin who has an opt out clause if he does not make the Opening Day bullpen could have a leg up, Cederlind should get a look.
For the Pirates, 2020 needs to be about playing the future. Cederlind is a big part of the future of the bullpen. The future needs to be now for Cederlind.
Furthermore, Cederlind is likely already one of the team’s best bullpen options for 2020. While the Pirate bullpen has plenty of talented bullpen arms available in 2020, many are unproven and/or have a track record of inconsistency.
Even if Cederlind would struggle in 2020, it could be worth it in the long run. The experience Cederlind would gain pitching at the MLB level in 2020 could prove to be priceless. Cederlind and his power, turbo sinking fastball deserve an opportunity in 2020.