Pittsburgh Pirates Add Two Pitchers to the Active Roster

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Sam Howard #54 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photo during the Pirates' photo day on February 19, 2020 at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Sam Howard #54 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photo during the Pirates' photo day on February 19, 2020 at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images) /
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The Pittsburgh Pirates announced that they have placed two more right handers on the injured list, this being Mitch Keller and Michael Feliz while promoting Cody Ponce and Sam Howard.

The Pittsburgh Pirates announced this morning that they have placed two more right handed pitchers on the injured list, that being exciting young right hander Mitch Keller and relief pitcher Michael Feliz. In response, they have promoted Cody Ponce and Sam Howard from the taxi squad:

Keller entered the season ranked as the Pittsburgh Pirates best pitching prospect, but has since lost his prospect status. Last year, despite his 7.13 ERA, had a really good 3.19 FIP, 3.47 xFIP and 3.78 SIERA. He also struck out 28.6% of the batters he faced and walked just 7% with a 1.1 HR/9. The poor numbers came from a very unlucky .475 batting average on balls in play, the most by any starting pitcher with at least 40 innings pitched.

Keller appeared in his first game of 2020 against the Cardinals on Sunday, and did solid. Through 5 innings, he allowed one earned run, struck out two and walked three.

However, he ended his day strong retiring the last eight batters he faced. Last night against the Cubs, Keller got off to a solid enough start, pitching two scoreless, but the wheels started to fall off in the 3rd.

Keller started to miss his spots really badly, resulting in two home runs off the bat of Ian Happ and Javier Baez. Keller left the game with an apparent left side injury with two outs in the third, and was replaced by right hander Chris Startton. Even if it’s nothing super serisous, there is a high possibility that Keller doesn’t reappear in 2020. No reason to rush a potential rotation anchor in a 60-game season when you’re in the middle of a tank.

After 4.1 really good innings by Chris Stratton and right hander JT Brubaker, Michael Feliz came in from the bullpen, and imploded. Feliz didn’t get a single out, but gave up two earned runs on two hits and one walk. The two runs coming from a long ball by Cubs’ slugger Kyle Schwarber.

Feliz had gotten off on a good note to 2020 as in his fist appearance, he pitched a scoreless inning, and stuck out one Cardinal. But in his second going against the Brewers, he allowed four earned runs on a walk, struck out one, and didn’t even get out of the inning.

In their place, prospect Cody Ponce and left hander Sam Howard will take their place on the roster. Ponce was acquired by the Pittsburgh Pirates from the Brewers during the 2019 deadline for Jordan Lyles. He’ll likely be used as a relief pitcher, but has experience as a starting pitcher. Despite his weak results when the Pirates traded for him and used him as a starter, he had really good numbers as a relief pitcher with the Brew Crew, having a 3.29 ERA/2.46 FIP in 38.1 innings as a relief pitcher at Double-A.

Next. Cederlind Should be in the Bullpen. dark

Howard on the other hand will give the Pirates as another left handed option out of the pen. Howard has 23 innings pitched at the majors league level, but with pretty bad results. He has a major league career 5.87 ERA, 6.16 FIP and 1.69 WHIP to go with a 2.0 HR/9, 11.7% walk rate, and 21.6% strikeout rate. However, seeing as he was in the worst possible enviroment for pitchers, that being Coors Field, it’s worth seeing if he can improve in a different environment.

With Keller and Feliz on the injured list, they join Kyle Crick and Clay Holmes as two other right handers who were placed on the injured list last week.

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