Pittsburgh Pirates: Examining When Roansy Contreras Could be Promoted to AAA


Pittsburgh Pirates’ prospect Roansy Contreras has been absolutley dominating Double-A batters, but when should we see him get promoted to Triple-A?

The Pittsburgh Pirates acquired a pretty impressive prospect package for Jameson Taillon which is looking better by the game. Right-hander Roansy Contreras, who was part of the deal, has been outright outstanding at Double-A Altoona. Eventually, the team will have to promote him to Triple-A Indianapolis, so when should they promote him to the next level.

So far this season Contreras has pitched 27.2 innings. He’s put up a 1.63 ERA, 1.82 FIP and 0.76 WHIP. Contreras has struck out batters at an outstanding 40.4% rate, while only keeping free passes to a 5.8% rate. Plus he’s only allowed a single home run, leading to a 0.33 HR/9 rate.

Contreras has induced ground balls at a strong 47.1% rate and has a very good 2.39 xFIP mark. These are all massive improvements since 2019. He only had a 21.1% strikeout rate and a 40.1% groundball rate in his last professional season. His strikeout to walk rate has risen from a solid 3.14 mark to an outstanding 7.0 mark.

Not only has his numbers looked better, but his stuff has looked better too. His four-seam fastball only averaged 92-94 MPH in 2019 but is now averaging around 96-98 MPH. It also already had above average spin with 2400 RPM. Based on his spin from last his season pitching in the minors in 2019, and his velocity from this season, his four-seamer is likely seen as a 60-70 grade offering now. His breaking ball has also looked a lot sharper, while his changeup has also looked like an above-average third offering.

But when could we expect to see him be promoted to Triple-A?

The Pittsburgh Pirates have no rush on bringing him up right now. They’re currently in a rebuilding state. They probably aren’t going to see any major improvement this year. Player development is at the forefront of the current plan Ben Cherington has put into place.

Remember, Contreras is still young. This is his age 21-season and he won’t turn 22 until early November. Not every player is going to skyrocket through the minors and explode on the Major League scene like Juan Soto.

But you also want to show confidence in Contreras. Letting him toil at a single level and keep dominating doesn’t help him and his development. Letting Contreras prove himself at a higher level may help him more than letting him dominate at Double-A. However, that can also work in the opposite way. If he gets promoted to Indianapolis and struggles, it may have the opposite effect, hurting his confidence.

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Again, there is no rush for the team to rush him at every level. But it’s really hard to keep someone who has such good numbers and improving stuff at just Double-A. I think he pitches at Double-A up through mid-June if he keeps pitching like this. That will give him a month and a half of pitching for the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. It will also give the Pirates a good enough look at his ability to make a good judgment as to whether or not he is ready.