Next up in our series of Pittsburgh Pirates prospects who have an important season ahead of them is left-handed reliever Blake Weiman
There was a time when left-handed pitcher Blake Weiman appeared to be a pitcher who had a big future with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Entering spring training in 2020 Weiman looked like a pitcher primed to make his MLB debut. Unfortunately for Weiman, he was a player who was impacted in a big way by the COVID shortened 2020 season and injuries.
Weiman spent the majority of the 2019 season with Double-A Altoona. After posting a strong 1.86 ERA, 1.98 FIP, 5.5% walk rate and a 32.9% strikeout rate in 19.1 innings in 16 outings for Altoona, he was promoted to Triple-A Indianapolis.
With the Indians Weiman pitched 11.2 innings in 8 relief outings. Weiman struggled, however, in these 11.2 innings posting a 4.63 ERA, 6.80 FIP, 7.5% walk rate and a strikeout rate of 18.9%. He also allowed home runs at a 2.31 HR/9 rate.
Weiman appeared to have an outside chance of opening the 2020 season on the active roster of the Pittsburgh Pirates. After the start of the COVID-19 pandemic pushed opening day to late July, Weiman became an after thought and he did not pitch in any games.
2021 saw Weiman spend the entire season at Triple-A. With Indianapolis he pitched 45.1 innings in 35 relief outings. The lefty posted a 4.76 ERA, 5.66 FIP, 6.4% walk rate, 24.1% strikeout and struggled with the long ball again allowing home runs at a 2.18 HR/9 rate. It goes without saying these were not the results that either Weiman or the Pittsburgh Pirates were looking for. To be honest, had Weiman pitched more effectively at Indianapolis last season he may have made his MLB debut at some point in 2021.
All of this sets up the 2022 season to be an important season for Weiman. Outfielder Hudson Head and pitcher Tahnaj Thomas have already been identified as Pirate prospects with importnat seasons ahead. Weiman is also on this list.
Regardless of what happens in terms of a MLB season in 2022, Weiman will get to pitch for Indianapolis. Entering his age-26 season it is in some ways a now or never type of season for Weiman.
If there is a MLB season in 2022 then Weiman should be circled as a prospect with a strong opportunity to make their debut with the Pirates. If the season is played and this does not happen, then that likely indicates that Weiman does ot have a future with the Pirates. If there is no MLB season and Weiman struggles at Triple-A that is also likely a sign of him not having a future in Pittsburgh. All of this makes the 2022 season an important one for Weiman.