When the Altoona Curve, the Double-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates, kick off their 2021 season this week Roansy Contreras will be toeing the rubber
This Tuesday the Altoona Curve will make their return. After the minor league season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, minor league baseball is set to return in 2021. That includes the Double-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Tuesday evening the Curve will kick off their 2021 season by hosting the Bowie Baysox at People’s Natural Gas Field in Altoona. When the first pitch of this game is fired at 6:00 PM ET, it will be righty Roansy Contreras firing the pitch for the Curve.
The 21-year-old Contreras is one of the players the Pittsburgh Pirates acquired in the Jameson Taillon trade. Contreras made a strong first impression with the Pittsburgh Pirates this spring flashing a plus changeup in his Grapefruit League outings.
This will be the first time Contreras has pitched above the High-A level. Contreras pitched 132.1 innings in 24 starts the New York Yankees’ High-A affiliate in 2019. In these 132.1 innings Contreras posted a stellar 3.33 ERA and 3.67 FIP. He had a strong 6.7% walk rate, 21.1% strikeout rate and allowed just 10 home runs (0.68 HR/9).
Contreras features largely a three pitch mix wit ha four-seam fastball, changeup and slider. All three of these pitches have a future value of 50 (45 is league average) according to FanGraphs. If Contreras pitches well with the Curve this season the Pittsburgh Pirates will likely look to get him into the Triple-A starting rotation by the end of the season. If this happens, it could put Contreras in position to make his MLB debut with the Pirates early in the 2022 season.
Contreras is far from the only high ceiling prospect who will start the season with the Curve. As we broke down on the site earlier this weekend, the Curve roster is one that could have plenty of power and star potential.
There is one other interesting note about the Double-A roster, which was reported by Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Cody Bolton has been largely viewed as one of the top starting pitching prospects in the organization. While he could be absolutely dominant as a reliever he was a viewed as a pitcher with an opportunity to join the Pirate starting rotation this season. It will be curious to watch what happens with Bolton this season.