Pittsburgh Pirates 2022 Fantasy Outlook
Other valuable players
If you miss out on some of the top first basemen or perhaps decide to wait and build a strong rotation, Yoshi Tsutsugo may be a surprising option this year. After struggling mightily in limited action with the Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles Dodgers last season, Tsutsugo signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates in August where he saw consistent playing time and posted a solid .268/.347/.535 slash line in 144 plate appearances.
Tsutsugo and his home run power could also be a great add in free agency, along with newly acquired 1B/DH Daniel Vogelbach, if he is not taken on draft day as injuries happen and he wields both first base and outfield eligibility entering the 2022 season. Tsutsugo and Vogelbach will likely share time at first base and DH to begin the season with the hopes of the two providing some power numbers for the club.
On the mound the Pittsburgh Pirates have a lot of unknowns entering the 2022 season so it is difficult to rank the potential rising stars such as Roansy Contreras and Miguel Yajure, among others.
What we do know, however, is that David Bednar was very successful out of the bullpen last season and as of now, he enters the 2022 season as the Pirates’ top closing option. After posting a 2.23 ERA to go along with a 77:19 K:BB ratio, Bednar should enter the season with some confidence and if the team shows success he will be the go-to man in the 9th inning. If there is a scenario in which you miss out on some of the top closing options, Bednar could be a very good buy-low option at the end of your draft.
ESPN ranks JT Brubaker as Pittsburgh’s top fantasy starting pitcher entering the 2022 season despite posting a 5.36 ERA in 2021. Brubaker got off to a strong start in 2021 but a rough second half derailed his season as a 7.91 ERA over a 10 game stretch bruised his stat line considerably. It is worth noting that in his 11 starts at PNC Park, Brubaker posted an ERA of 3.79 so he may be worth streaming consideration for spot starts throughout the season. Given that, hopefully he can maintain the first half success that we saw in 2021for both the Pirates’ sake and your fantasy team in 2022.
In his rookie season, Zach Thompson posted an ERA of 3.24 over 75 innings last year as a member of the Miami Marlins. Thompson was acquired in the Jacob Stallings trade this offseason along with two other prospects and if he can continue his rookie year success, he could be a very valuable piece for both the Pittsburgh Pirates and your fantasy team this season. Thompson may not be a player drafted on draft day but he is certainly a pitcher to keep your eye on in the beginning of the season as his early-career success may not be a fluke.
Lastly, Mitch Keller. Following last year’s poor performance including an ERA of 6.17, some work was definitely needed in order for Keller to regain his confidence. That happened this offseason as Keller was seen hitting 100+ MPH on the radar gun. Certainly, that is encouraging for the Pirate organization as Keller is clearly healthy and doing what he can to put everything together, but where does that leave Keller in terms of a fantasy perspective? Most likely, Keller won’t be drafted on draft day but that does not mean that he couldn’t be on rosters as the season progresses. Entering his age-26 season and despite his early struggles, it is too soon to give up on Keller, but a “wait and see” scenario is likely all he will be given entering the 2022 fantasy season.
To begin the year, the Pittsburgh Pirates may not have a long list of players that will prominently impact your fantasy roster, but what will be exciting to see is if and when some of these young Pirate prospects will be scooped up from the waiver wire this season.