Pittsburgh Pirates: Three Pitching Prospects Turning Heads

CLEARWATER, FLORIDA - MARCH 05: Wil Crowe #29 of the Pittsburgh Pirates throws a pitch during the third inning against the Philadelphia Phillies during a spring training game at Phillies Spring Training Ball Park on March 05, 2021 in Clearwater, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
CLEARWATER, FLORIDA - MARCH 05: Wil Crowe #29 of the Pittsburgh Pirates throws a pitch during the third inning against the Philadelphia Phillies during a spring training game at Phillies Spring Training Ball Park on March 05, 2021 in Clearwater, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /
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Tuesday afternoon MLB Pipeline’s website came out with three Pittsburgh Pirates pitchers who have turned heads this spring

As Tuesday drudged on I was sitting on pins and needles patiently awaiting MLB Pipeline’s top 30 prospects for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Unfortunately, they haven’t come out with the list yet, but I did find something rather intriguing while I was scouring through the recent news the site had posted.

Jake Crouse of Pirates.com had written a piece on Tuesday discussing three specific Pittsburgh Pirates pitchers who have been turning some heads and making the Pirate staff grin ear to ear this spring. The piece is titled “Trio of new arms impressing Bucs in camp,” and the three names will probably come to no surprise, but nonetheless, their performances merit a conversation.

The first name Crouse mentioned was the local Mars High School product that has already won the hearts of most Pittsburgh Pirates fans, and I would assume the Pirate staff as a whole. I mean, what’s not to like about a hometown guy drafted from a small school in the 35th round! David Bednar didn’t have the best start to his career in 2019, where in 11.0 innings of work, he gave up 8 earned runs, walked five batters and allowed 10 hits. 2020 wasn’t something to remember either with Bednarpitching just 6.1 innings and giving up 11 hits and 5 earned runs.

Before I mention his performance this year in Spring Training, I need to remind you this is only Spring Training, so take these performances with a salt of salt. Bednar, to this point, has had six appearances striking out 11 batters and giving up a goose egg in the run column. His fastball has been extremely lively, toping at 98, and who doesn’t love an old-school splitter?

Bednar has also featured a very good curveball where on several occasions, he has left batters frozen, painting the black and letting the opposing batter take the walk of shame to the dugout. On one occasion, you heard Pirate play-by-play announcer Joe Block mention that Bednar just looks like a closer out there. I know Pittsburgh Pirates manager Derek Shelton hasn’t named a closer, and probably never will as closer is not a positiob, I think Bednar should get the chance to take the ball in the 9th.

The next pitcher Crouse mentioned in the piece came by way of the Josh Bell trade, and that pitcher is Wil Crowe. Crowe, let’s just say didn’t have the best year in 2020 with the Nats. Crowe in 2020 had three starts and could only manage 8.1IP, an ERA of 11.88, 14 hits, and a 7.75 xFIP. I’m a firm believer in a change of scenery, and I think Crowe will fair well in Pittsburgh with that change.

During Grapefruit League play Crowe has pitched in 6.0 innings of work. In these 6.0 innings has struck out five, and only allowing three hits. 6.0 innings of work is not near enough to get a read on anybody, as I said previously, but there is something to be said with the work he has done, and I curious to see if he ends up surpassing JT Brubaker as the number five guy in the rotation.

Last but not least, Crouse went a little unconventional and chose someone with only one inning of work so far this spring. Yes I’m talking about the young hurler named Roansy Contreras. Barely old enough to drink, the young Contreras was touching 98 this spring and seemed to have hitter fooled in his one appearance this year. Although Contreras has a lot more seasoning to do, I think he could be a diamond in the rough prospect.

dark. Next. Kumar Rocker Continuing To Shine

In the Jameson Tailon trade with the Yankees, I think Pittsburgh Pirates fans kind of forgot who all was acquired, or maybe Contreras was overshadowed by a name like Miguel Yajure or Canaan Smith-Njigba, but Contreras hasn’t been on the lips of many fans I’ve talked to. You know what they say, someone who is under the radar is the one who will get you, and I think Contreras has that potential in the long run.

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