According to Robert Murray of The Athletic, the Pittsburgh Pirates have signed free agent right-handed relief pitcher Jandel Gustave
Few teams in baseball have seen their pitching staff be hit as hard by the injury bug as the Pittsburgh Pirates have. Injuries occurred before the season, during the shutdown, they had pitchers who tested positive for the coronavirus when they arrived for summer camp, and more pitchers have gotten injured since the season started.
Last week, it was reported that the Pittsburgh Pirates had signed for all-star Henderson Alvarez to bolster their pitching depth. Well, it then came out on Sunday night that this deal failed to materialize. However, now it appears that general manager Ben Cherington has made another move to bolster their pitching depth.
According to Robert Murray of The Athletic, the Pittsburgh Pirates have signed a free agent relief pitcher:
This pitcher is 27-year-old righty Jandel Gustave. In 44.2 innings pitched in the Majors, Gustave owns a 3.43 ERA and a 3.97 FIP. He has allowed just 18 hits and three home runs, however, he’s walked 10.9% of batters faced and stuck out just 17.4% of batters faced.
Gustave pitched for the Houston Astros in 2016 and 2017. He then missed the entire 2018 season recovering from Tommy John surgery. In October of 2018, he outrighted to the minors and removed from the 40-man roster.
The San Francisco Giants signed Gustave to a minor league contract in February 2019. Gustave then joined the Giant roster in July and found success. In 2019 he pitched in a career best 24.1 innings posting a 2.96 ERA and a 3.71 FIP, both of which were career bests. He surrendered just 11 hits and one home run, and his 9.1% walk rate was slightly better than his career average. However, he struck out just 14.1% of batters faced.
Gustave’s best pitch is his fastball. His fastball averaged 96.1 MPH last season which ranked in the 89th percentile of baseball. Gustave’s fastball also has a ton of spin. It sat in the 79th percentile of baseball in fastball spin rate last season.
He also throws a slider and a sinker. On the 99 sliders he threw last season, Gustave limited opposing batters to a .167 batting average and a .292 slugging percentage. Opposing batters also slugged just .280 off of his sinker.
If Gustave can improve his control and up his strikeout rate, he could be a quality bullpen arm for the Pittsburgh Pirates. With his power fastball and what appears to be a quality slider, improving his strikeout rate should be doable for Gustave.
Gustave could join the Pirate active roster, or be sent to the alternative training site in Altoona. Regardless, the team will need to make a move to create a spot for Gustave on their 40-man roster.