Pittsburgh Pirates: Projecting the 2022 Mid-Season Rotation

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 14: Miguel Yajure #89 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches in the first inning against the San Francisco Giants at PNC Park on May 14, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 14: Miguel Yajure #89 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches in the first inning against the San Francisco Giants at PNC Park on May 14, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /
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PITTSBURGH, PA – SEPTEMBER 30: Miguel Yajure #89 of the Pittsburgh Pirates delivers a pitch in the first inning during the game against the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park on September 30, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA – SEPTEMBER 30: Miguel Yajure #89 of the Pittsburgh Pirates delivers a pitch in the first inning during the game against the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park on September 30, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

Miguel Yajure

Miguel Yajure was another top pitching prospect the Pittsburgh Pirates acquired in the Jameson Taillon trade. Yajure likely would have spent the second half of 2021 in the Pirate starting rotation but missed a good chunk of time because of injuries. Still, he has lots of potential and is one of the Pirates many long-term rotation candidates.

Last season Yajure posted solid numbers at Triple-A. In 43.2 innings, the right-hander had a 3.09 ERA, 4.35 FIP, and 1.05 WHIP. He had a 23% strikeout rate and 7.5% walk rate, but a so-so 1.24 HR/9, and his 15.4% HR/FB ratio is about 10-12% higher than what he usually puts up. Yajure did make his Pirates debut, but only pitched 15 innings. He had 2 solid outings to start his career with the Pirates, but a poor outing at the end of 2021.

Yajure has an impressive arsenal that consists of 6 offerings he threw at least 5% of the time last year. Among his pitches, his cutter is considered his best weapon. FanGraphs grades it as a 60-grade offering that sits around 87 MPH. His four-seam fastball is another above-average pitch. He has great command with it, which makes up for the 90-93 MPH velocity range. It’s another offering that FanGraphs sees as above average at a 55-projected.

His changeup is a third plus offering. It has similar velo to his cutter and is considered his best secondary pitch. Yajure’s curve has very good movement. It’s a 12-6 curve that has “serious bite and depth”, according to FanGraphs. At the very least, it’s an average curve. Then there’s his slider. Yajure’s slider is another offering that is graded out as average or better. He also has a sinker he pretty much only throws to right-handers. It’s his least used offering, but a sixth offering to his already deep arsenal.

Yajure tops out around 95-97 MPH but usually sits in the lower-90 MPH range. He struggled with velo late into last season, but a full off-season of rest after missing a good chunk of 2021 should help regain some of the zip. But what Yajure lacks in velocity he makes up for in command and control. Yajure’s walk rate has consistently sat around 5-6%. His injury last season could have played a role in his struggles with command and home runs.

The right-hander is one of the organization’s most underrated arms. He doesn’t have the velocity the likes of Contreras or Jared Jones has, nor the big overpowering breaking pitch like Quinn Priester has. But the volume he has in terms of offerings as well as the plus command make him a guy with the potential to be a high-end #3 starter, potentially low-end #2 starter if he fully reaches his potential.

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