Pirate pitching prospects
The Pittsburgh Pirates also have four pitching prospects playing in the AFL. These four pitchers who have been toeing the rubber for the Javelinas are Bear Bellomy, Mike Burrows, Roansy Contreras and Carmen Mlodzinski.
Bellomy, who pitched 67 regular season innings with High-A Greensboro in addition to one outing with Triple-A Indianapolis, has logged 6.2 innings in 4 relief outings for the Javelinas. Bellomy has allowed 2 runs on 5 hits, 3 walks and he has struck out 4.
One of the most underrated and overlooked pitchers in the Pirate farm system is Burrows. After posting a 2.20 ERA, 3.28 FIP and a 34.2% strikeout rate in 13 starts for Greensboro this past season, Burrows is now pitching well in the AFL.
Burrows has pitched 5.2 innings in a pair of appearances for the Javelinas. While he has allowed a home run that has distorted his ERA, he has walked just a single batter while striking out 5. Burrows will likely begin the 2022 season with Double-A Altoona and could be a dark horse to reach the Majors and pitch for the Pittsburgh Pirates next season.
Finally, there is Contreras. After posting a 2.64 ERA and striking out 82 batters in 58 innings pitched across a combined 13 starts at Double-A and Triple-A, Contreras made his MLB debut in late September pitching 3 scoreless innings in his debut.
While Contreras has allowed 3 earned runs in 3 innings pitched in the AFL, it is still beneficial for Contreras to be getting the work in. Especially after missing time due to injury during the 2021 season. Contreras has allowed 4 hits, walked 3 batters and struck out a pair in his 3 innings pitched.
Unless the service time rules are changed in the new CBA this offseason, Contreras will start the 2022 season with Indianapolis. However, he should join the Pittsburgh Pirates sooner rather than later next season as he looks to settle in as a long-term rotation anchor, and potential future ace, for the Bucs.
Mlodzinski, who could crack the Pirate starting rotation in 2022, has made three appearances for the Javelinas thus far. In those three outings Mlodzinski has pitched 4.1 innings, allowing 1 run on 3 hits, no walks and 2 strikeouts.
The extra work for Mlodzinski is nothing short of a positive. He missed time this past season due to injury, facing the improved competition this fall, working on his pitching repertoire and in further preparation for Mlodzinski to potentially make his MLB debut in 2022.