Pittsburgh Pirates: Chase De Jong Can Make an Impact in 2021


Right-handed pitcher Chase De Jong has the potential to make an impact for the Pittsburgh Pirates at some point during the 2021 season

On January 5, the Pittsburgh Pirates signed right-handed pitcher Chase De Jong to a minor league contract. This came after De Jong spent the 2020 season with the Houston Astros, which included being a member of their postseason roster. Although, he did not pitch in the postseason at all for Houston.

Last season, De Jong pitched 7.1 innings with the Astros in the regular season. While he allowed 12 runs on 12 hits and a pair of home runs, he also struck out 9 batters in his 7.1 innings of work with the Astros.

Tuesday night De Jong made the Opening Day start for the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians. In this start De Jong dominated the Iowa Cubs. De Jong pitched 6 scoreless innings for the Indians on Tuesday night, allowing 2 hits, walking a pair and striking out 10.

De Jong’s strong start to the season at the Triple-A level comes on the heels of a strong performance in Grapefruit League play this spring. In 14 innings pitched this past spring he allowed 3 runs on 9 hits, 3 walks, a home run and 7 strikeouts. All of this resulted in De Jong posting a 1.88 ERA.

His performance this spring nearly landed De Jong a spot on the Opening Day roster with the Pittsburgh Pirates. A one time highly touted prospect, De Jong has always had the stuff to be a quality MLB pitcher but he has yet to put it all together.

De Jong’s best pitch is his curveball. His curveball has the ability to be a plus pitch in the Majors and it was his best pitch during Grapefruit League play. His slider also has the ability to play up in the Majors.

Prior to the start of the minor league season De Jong was working at the Pirates’ alternate training site. With his success in the spring, including an improved curveball, combined with his first start at Triple-A this season it appears De Jong may have found something that has clicked with him. He has always had the stuff needed to be a quality MLB pitcher, now it appears that Oscar Marin and the rest of the pitching staff in the Pirate organization may have helped De Jong start to unlock some more of his potential.

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Odds are De Jong will pitch for the Pittsburgh Pirates at some point this season. The Pirates will need pitching help, both out of the bullpen and in the starting rotation, because, well, that’s how baseball works.

De Jong has the ability to make an impact for the Pirates this season. He has the pitch arsenal needed to be a quality MLB pitcher and he it appears he may have finally found something that clicks with the front office and pitching staff in Pittsburgh. Keep an eye on De Jong as the season progresses.