Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Pitcher Making 40-Man Roster Decision Difficult


As he finished the season strong at Triple-A righty Yerry De Los Santos is creating a difficult 40-man roster decision for the Pittsburgh Pirates

Earlier this month the Pittsburgh Pirates promoted eight prospects from Double-A Altoona to Triple-A Indianapolis. This gave these eight prospects the opportunity to get very valuable at-bats/innings pitched at the Triple-A leave before the end of the season.

One of the players the Pittsburgh Pirates promoted was right-handed relief pitcher Yerry De Los Santos. Prior to De Los Santos being promoted to Triple-A the Pirates may have been facing a difficult offseason decision in terms of his 40-man roster status. Well, all De Los Santos has done with Indianapolis is make this decision even more difficult.

Thursday night De Los Santos made his third appearance with the Indians. In the outing De Los Santos allowed a hit and struck out 3 in 2 scoreless innings pitched. This just continued to build upon the strong start De Los Santos is off to at the Triple-A level.

De los Santos has pitched 5 innings in his 3 outings with the Indians. He has not allowed a run, while limiting opposing batters to just a pair of hits. De Los Santos has walked just 1 and struck out 5 in these 5 innings of work.

With De Los Santos pitching this well the Pittsburgh Pirates will face a decision with him this offseason. Last offseason they left him unprotected in the Rule 5 Draft and he was not drafted. This offseason, however, the odds of De Los Santos going undrafted appear to be lower.

With De Los Santos pitching well at the Triple-A level, odds are, a team would take a gamble on him in the Rule 5 Draft. Especially with how easy it can be to hide a Rule 5 Draft pick in a bullpen over the course of the season, just see what the Pirates did with Luis Oviedo this season.

The Pirates will now face a difficult decision with De Los Santos. Adding to the difficulty of this decision will be the amount of prospects the Pirates have that are Rule 5 eligible this offseason. In a normal offseason protecting De Los Santos, especially with the current makeup of the 40-man roster, may be a no brainer. But with the Pirates in need of clearing potentially 15+ 40-man roster spots this offseason, that decision becomes murkier.

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Had De Los Santos not missed a big chunk of the 2021 season due to injury him making his MLB debut this season would have been in play. The Pirates have used a new single season record 63 players this season after all. Not to mention the struggles of the bullpen.

If they do protect De Los Santos from the Rule 5 Draft him making the Opening Day roster in 2022 should not be ruled out. Even if this does not happen, if De Los Santos is protected, Pirate fans should see him in Pittsburgh early in the 2022 season.