Pittsburgh Pirates: Highlights for the Organization in 2021

(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /
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Pittsburgh Pirates
PITTSBURGH, PA – SEPTEMBER 29: Roansy Contreras #59 of the Pittsburgh Pirates makes his Major League debut against the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park on September 29, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

The emergence of Roansy Contreras

Last offseason the Pittsburgh Pirates traded away multiple players. This included right-handed starting pitcher Jameson Taillon. In exchange for Taillon the Pirates received four players from the New York Yankees.

The early returns are making it appear that this trade could be a great one for the Pirates. Miguel Yajure appears ready to take a spot in the starting rotation by the horns in 2022, Canaan Smith-Njigba is an intriguing outfield prospect, and infield prospect Maikol Escotto may have the highest ceiling of the three.

Regardless of what happens with those three players, Roansy Contreras may make the trade a strong one for the Pirates all by himself. Contreras, who was just 21-years-old during the season, had a breakout campaign in 2021. He posted a 2.64 ERA, 5.6% walk rate and a 35.0% strikeout rate in 58 innings pitched across 13 starts for Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis.

Had it not been for a forearm injury that cost Contreras much of the summer he would have likely made his MLB debut sooner than he did. That said, he made a start for the Pittsburgh Pirates during the final week of the season and he struck out 4 batters 3 scoreless innings in this start. He then struck out 18 batters while posting a 3.86 ERA while pitching 14 innings in the Arizona Fall League.

Moving forward Contreras looks like a potential future ace for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Contreras could anchor the Pirate rotation for many years to come and that anchoring should begin in 2022.