The Final Spot(s)
Entering Spring Training there will be a few pitchers competing for the final spot(s) in the Pirate starting rotation. The two many guys here are right-handed pitchers JT Brubaker and Wil Crowe. Although, righty Cody Ponce could be a facotr as well.
The Pittsburgh Pirates could still add a veteran starting pitcher via free agency as well. If they would, that veteran would be a safe bet to start the season in the Pirate starting rotation.
Brubaker made his MLB debut in 2020 and was the Pirate Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2018. In his 11 games, nine starts, Brubaker logged 47.1 inning and posted a 4.94 ERA. However, his ERA was ballooned due to one poor start, his 4.08 FIP and 4.51 DRA were more indicative of the pitcher he was.
Crowe was added in the Josh Bell trade. In 2020 Crowe made three starts for the Nationals and struggled. That said, it was just three starts and entered the season as a top five prospect for the Nats. If Crowe does not start the season in the Pirate starting rotation then he could be a member of the Opening Day bullpen.
While Ponce will likely start the 2021 season in the starting rotation at the Triple-A level, he will have an opportunity to compete for a spot on the Opening Day roster. Esepcially if Brault is traded and no other starting pitchers are brought in, as that would likely lead to two of these three pitchers making the Opening Day roster.