Pittsburgh Pirates: Opportunity for a Left-Handed Reliever Prospect in 2021

FORT MYERS, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 29: Blake Weiman #82 of the Pittsburgh Pirates delivers a pitch during the spring training game against the Minnesota Twins at Century Link Sports Complex on February 29, 2020 in Fort Myers, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
FORT MYERS, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 29: Blake Weiman #82 of the Pittsburgh Pirates delivers a pitch during the spring training game against the Minnesota Twins at Century Link Sports Complex on February 29, 2020 in Fort Myers, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /
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With opportunities to be had in Pittsburgh Pirates bullpen during the 2021 season, lefty Blake Weiman could be in position to take advantage of these opportunities

Whenever spring training begins the Pittsburgh Pirates will have plenty of questions surrounding their bullpen. After an up-and-down season for the Pirate bullpen in 2020, things remain in flux as the 2021 season continues to draw nearer.

If they are not traded, Richard Rodriguez and Chris Stratton will be locked into the Opening Day bullpen. Due to his Rule 5 status, Luis Oviedo will almost assuredly be in the Opening day bullpen as well. At least one of right-handed pitchers Geoff Hartlieb and Blake Cederlind, as well as lefties Sam Howard and Nik Turley same like safe bets as well. That said, there will still be plenty of opportunities to go around in the Pirate bullpen.

One pitcher who could seize this opportunity and take advantage of it is left-handed reliever Blake Weiman. Had there been a minor league season, as well as a full MLB season, Weiman may have made his MLB debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates during the 2020 season. Now, he will enter the 2021 season looking to do just that.

During the 2019 season, Weiman pitched at both the Double-A and Triple-A levels. With the Curve, Weiman posted a 1.86 ERA, 5.5% walk rate, 32.9% strikeout rate, and he allowed just one home run in 19.1 innings of work.

After being promoted to the Triple-A level, Weiman hit a bit of snag. In 11.2 innings of work with the Indianapolis Indians he allowed three home runs, while his walk rate rose to 7.5% and his strikeout rate dropped to 18.9%. As a result, his ERA rose to 4.63 at Triple-A.

Weiman has also turned some heads the previous two seasons during spring training. Combined between 2019 and 2020, Weiman pitched 5.2 innings in Grapefruit League play. In these 5.2 innings of work Weiman allowed three earned runs on a home run, two walks and three strikeouts.

In total, the 26-year-old Weiman has pitched 131.1 career minor league innings. Weiman owns a 2.88 ERA in these 131.1 innings pitched, to go with a 3.9% walk rate and a 28.7% strikeout rate. He’s also allowed just 11 home runs in the minors.

Weiman possesses a fastball/slider combo. His fastball sits in the low-to-mid 90s and is tough to square up due to it’s spin rate. He also throws a plus slider that should play well for him at the Major League level.

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While Weiman will likely start the 2021 season at the Triple-A level, there should be opportunities to be had in the Pirate bullpen. When these opportunities arise, Weiman will likely be one of the first pitchers to be given a chance to seize the opportunity. We indentified him as one of the Pirates’ prospects most likely to make their MLB debut in 2021 for a reason. Pirate fans need to make sure to keep an eye on Weiman in 2021.

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