With the end of the 2021 season at the end of the week, the Pittsburgh Pirates rotation looks different than it did at the beginning of the year. It will continue to look different as the season progresses next season.
The Pirates continue to rebuild and see subpar results in terms of the overall record. However, the team is building for the future and there are some clear changes that have already occurred and what will continue to occur as the team looks to compete in 2023. One of those key areas is the starting rotation. The rotation will also look different throughout next year.
The Pirates entered 2021 expecting to be led by Steven Brault, but his season was delayed by injury and then also has come to a conclusion because of injury. JT Brubaker has shown promise but has overall struggled to a 5.36 ERA this season before being placed on the Injured List. Tyler Anderson was traded away and some other prospects were added to the roster. Chad Kuhl was moved to the bullpen as well.
Mitch Keller, who has a 5.96 ERA this season and 4.86 ERA since returning, is probably on his last overall stand heading into next season. He is a former top prospect and likely will get another chance. Miguel Yajure has dealt with injuries but has shown he has solid command and likely will make the team out of spring training next season. Bryse Wilson, acquired by the Pirates for Richard Rodriguez, will also likely make the rotation out of spring training. He is a former top prospect and was given a 45 Future Value grade by FanGraphs at the start of the season.
Heading into next year, there is likely another change coming at some point throughout the season. Roansy Contreras will be making his Major League debut as he had a 2.65 ERA and 2.74 FIP in 12 starts for Altoona. He is developing into a top prospect to watch for the Triple-A Indianapolis rotation at the start of the year. After Contreras, we could also see Omar Cruz look to secure a spot for 2023. Cruz is more command over power and had a 3.44 ERA over 21 starts.
The rotation clearly looks different than it did at the start of 2021 and it will continue to look different throughout next season. Keller is a big priority and maybe he figures out how to be a backend starter. Contreras and his plus stuff should be called up at some point next season as Yajure and Wilson look to solidify spots for the 2023 rotation.