Pittsburgh Pirates: Projecting the Starting Rotation Entering Spring Training

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Pittsburgh Pirates
CLEVELAND, OH – SEPTEMBER 27: JT Brubaker #65 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches during the game against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on September 27, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /

Battle For The Final Spot

Prior to the Pittsburgh Pirates signing Anderson earlier this week, both JT Brubaker and Wil Crowe appeared to be on their way to cracking the Opening Day starting rotation. Now, these two may find themselves battling it out for the final rotation spot.

Both Brubaker and Crowe made their MLB debuts in 2020. The Pirates acquired Crowe in the Josh Bell trade and appear to be high on the potential of his curveball. While Brubaker had the better results of the two in 2020, Crowe only pitched in three games for the Washington Nationals.

It is likely that both Brubaker and Crowe will be on the Opening Day roster with one earning a spot in the starting rotation with the other pitching out of the bullpen. Due to his better results in 2020 and potentially higher ceiling as a starting pitcher, Brubaker may enter Spring Training with a leg up in the race for the final rotation spot.

Righty Cody Ponce, as well as fellow righty Miguel Yajure will likely be given an opportunity in Spring Training to win this final rotation spot as well. However, odds are both will start the season in the rotation at Triple-A Indianapolis. Ponce projects as more of a bullpen swing arm in the Majors, while the Pirates will likely want to see Yajure get some work in the minors.

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The newly acquire Yajure is one of the top pitching prospects in the organization and the 113th best prospect in baseball according to FanGraphs. Due to this, the Pirates will likely want to keep Yajure at the Triple-A level until they believe he is 100% MLB ready.