Highly touted pitching prospect Roansy Contreras made his MLB debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday night and impressed in the process
As the highly touted Pittsburgh Pirates farm system begins to graduate top prospects there will be plenty of exciting days ahead for Pirate fans. Wednesday night was the first of many of these days as Roansy Contreras, one of the top pitching prospects in the Pirate farm system, made his MLB debut.
Despite a strong start from Contreras in his MLB debut the Pirates came up short in a 3-2 loss against the Cubs. With the loss, the Pirates fell to 59-99 on the season. This means they will have to win their final 4 games to avoid losing 100 games this season.
Roansy Contreras impresses in MLB debut
The first addition of Roansy Day could not have gone much better for Contreras and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Making his MLB debut Contreras pitched 3 scoreless innings, allowing 3 hits, walking a batter and striking out 4.
Contreras proved his stuff is ready to play in the Major Leagues. He was painting 98 MPH fastballs on the outside corner while flashing both a slider and curveball that looked like pitches with plus, maybe even bite potential.
29 of the 46 pitches (63%) that Contreras threw went for strikes. He generated a healthy 20.6% whiff rate in the start. He was also able to freeze Cub hitters with his stuff which included a strikeout looking.
Contreras did not look like a 21-year-old pitching in a MLB game on Wednesday night. He looked poised, confident and composed on the mound. His stuff looked like that of a future rotation anchor and ace.
6th inning rally not enough
Yoshi Tsutsugo continued his hitting ways by singling to start the 6th inning. Tsutsugo’s single was followed by a Bryan Reynolds triple. The second triple of the night for Reynolds, and 7th of the season, tied the game at 1.
Following the Reynolds triple Colin Moran worked a walk and Ben Gamel was hit by a pitch. Both of these trips to the plate came against Adam Morgan. Kevin Newman then put together a tremendous 10 pitch at-bat against Morgan that ended in Newman hitting a sacrifice fly to deep center field.
Newman’s sacrifice fly scored Reynolds, giving the Pirates a 2-1 lead, as well as moving Moran to third base and Gamel to second base. With runners on second and third with just one out Michael Perez had a horrendous at-bat that ended in a three pitch strikeout. Hoy Park then grounded out to end the inning.
While the 6th inning gave the Pittsburgh Pirates a 2-1 lead it was an inning in which the Pirates should have scored more runs. It was a golden opportunity for the Pirates to blow the game wide open but they failed to so which would go on to prove to be costly.
Bullpen struggles in the 7th inning
Chasen Shreve was summoned to protect the 2-1 Pirate lead in the 7th inning. Shreve got the first two outs of the inning but also put two runners on base. Nick Mears then received Shreve and got the final out of the inning, but he also allowed a 2-run single prior to getting the final out, making the score 3-2 Cubs.
While Shreve’s ERA is a strong 3.25, it is not indicative of how he has pitched this season. His FIP is a poor 4.79, he’s walked 12.1% of batters faced and struck out just 18.9% of batters faced. Overall, Shreve has struggled out of the bullpen this season and that continued on Wednesday night.
Mears has also struggled this season owning a 5.09 ERA, 5.68 FIP and he has struggled with the long ball allowing home runs at a 1.96 HR/9 rate. Odds are both Shreve and Mears will be among the odd men out for the Opening Day bullpen in 2022, especially Shreve who is likely to leave in free agency.
As of this writing the Pittsburgh Pirates had yet to announce a starting pitcher for Thursday’s series finale. As for the Cubs they plan to send lefty Justin Steele (4.86 ERA, 6.06 FIP). First pitch from PNC Park is scheduled for 6:35 PM ET.