Pittsburgh Pirates: Projecting Starting Rotation at the End of 2022

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Pittsburgh Pirates
Altoona Curve pitcher Roansy Contreras as the Binghamton Rumble Ponies hosted Altoona on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. The Ponies lost to the Curve, with a score of 5-0. /

Roansy Contreras

Roansy Contreras was ranked as the 2nd best pitching prospect in the Pirate farm system by the Rum Bunter staff. Acquired as part of the Jameson Taillon trade, he’s been outstanding since the trade. He was sent to Double-A this year where he has dominated. Even though he’s been injured for a few weeks, he has developed into a guy with low-end #1, high-end #2 starting pitcher potential.

So far in 46 innings, he has a 2.35 ERA, 2.39 FIP and 0.91 WHIP. Contreras has seen his strikeout rate take a huge rise over the past year. After sitting at just 21.1% in 2019, he is now striking out over 35% of all the batters he has faced (35.5% to be exact). Plus he’s given up home runs at just a .59-per-9 rate. He’s always been good at limiting the long ball, but he’s been even better this year. His 52% ground ball rate and 11% line drive rate are career bests.

Contreras is throwing a whole lot harder this year than in 2019. He’s sitting around 96-98 MPH after averaging out around 90-94 MPH before his arrival. He already had plus spin on his four-seamer. With his velocity and spin, he could have a 60-70 grade fastball on his hands. Combined with a breaking ball that has shown sharper break, and a change-up that always projected as above average, you’re looking at a very strong combination of pitches.

The large increase in velocity and break hasn’t affected his control very much, if at all. He’s walked just 6% of all the batters he has faced so far this season. His value has skyrocketed over the past season. He should start the 2022 season out at Triple-A. Assuming he doesn’t get hurt, Contreras could be in the Major Leagues before June 2022, or shortly after.