Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Minor League Statistical Leaders
By Noah Wright
FIP, xFIP, WHIP, Strikeout Rate (pitcher)
2.63, 2.96, .93, 35%
We have yet another big-time breakout player, this one being one of the most notable. The Bucs acquired right-hander Roansy Contreras as one of the four players in the Jameson Taillon trade. While he wasn’t the most highly touted piece of the puzzle when he was sent over from the Yankees to the Bucs, he is now one of baseball’s more noteworthy pitching prospects.
All told, Contreras has pitched 58 innings this season, posting a 2.64 ERA, 2.63 FIP, and .93 WHIP. Both the FIP (fielding independent pitching, which is a measurement of how good a pitcher is in terms of the three-true-outcomes) and WHIP (walks and hits per inning on average) lead the league, but those are far from the only stats he has the #1 spot in. Contreras struck out 35% of all batters faced, another best among Pirates’ minor league arms. He almost had the best walk rate as well with a 5.6% BB%. In terms of xFIP (expected FIP that also takes into account fly ball rate), his 2.96 was the only sub-3 mark in the system.
That’s all without taking a look at his fantastic batted ball rates. He induced a grounder at a 46.5% rate while his line drive rate sat at just 12.4%. Among all minor league pitchers, regardless of level, he had the 17th best opponent line drive rate in at least 50 innings of work.
Contreras had a big uptick in fastball velocity, saw him add sharper break to his curveball, and his change-up has always projected as above average. With plus command, Contreras has looked like a steal so far.
The right-hander entered the season as one of the Pirates’ top 30 prospects. Though now, he ranks as one of their top 5 prospects and FanGraphs even ranks him as the 56th best prospect in all of baseball. Now at Triple-A, Contreras has made enough of a mark to make himself a name to watch as a prospect who should make some sort of contribution to the 2022 Pittsburgh Pirates.