Pittsburgh Pirates: Ke’Bryan Hayes, Young Bats Highlights Opening Series

ST LOUIS, MO - APRIL 10: Ke'Bryan Hayes #13 of the Pittsburgh Pirates fields the ball against the St. Louis Cardinals in the fifth inning at Busch Stadium on April 10, 2022 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MO - APRIL 10: Ke'Bryan Hayes #13 of the Pittsburgh Pirates fields the ball against the St. Louis Cardinals in the fifth inning at Busch Stadium on April 10, 2022 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
4 of 4
Next
ST. LOUIS, MO – APRIL 07: Heath Hembree #53 of the Pittsburgh Pirates delivers a pitch during the sixth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals on Opening Day at Busch Stadium on April 7, 2022 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Scott Kane/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO – APRIL 07: Heath Hembree #53 of the Pittsburgh Pirates delivers a pitch during the sixth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals on Opening Day at Busch Stadium on April 7, 2022 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Scott Kane/Getty Images) /

Bulk of the bullpen could be pretty solid

When Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette was last on Rum Bunter Radio a few weeks ago we discussed how the bullpen could be sneaky good for the Pirates. While some relievers struggled in the series the pitchers who will prove to be Derek Shelton’s go to bullpen arms pitched well.

David Bednar should be in line for a big season out of the Pirate bullpen. In his lone outing in the series he faced the minimum after starting a 1-6-3 double play and striking a batter out. Chris Stratton pitched a 1-2-3 inning in his lone outing. Neither of these appearances should come as a surprise, however, as both Bednar and Stratton are coming off strong 2021 campaigns.

A major right spot was Anthony Banda. Quietly, the lefty pitched well after coming over to the Pirates last August posting a 3.42 ERA and a 21.6% strikeout rate in 26.1 innings pitched. In his lone outing of the series he retired all three batters he faced, striking out a pair, and his stuff looked as good as ever.

The early returns on reliever Wil Crowe are very promising. He struck out 5 and did not allow a hit in 4 scoreless innings pitched in the series. His fastball played up into the high-90s and his slider looked sharper than ever. It appears Crowe has found a new home.

Free agent addition Heath Hembree should also be a key bullpen piece for the Pittsburgh Pirates this season. He pitched in all three games, and allowed a run in 2.1 innings pitched. However, had Cole Tucker caught a ball that hit him in the glove that run would not have scored.

Next. Power Surge Sunday in the Pirate Farm System. dark

Yes, it was just a three-game series and 9.1 combined innings pitched, but the Pirates could have a really strong bullpen core in Bednar, Stratton, Banda, Crowe, and Hembree. Plus, Bednar and Stratton enter the season with high expectations with how they pitched last season, a move to the bullpen has long expected to benefit Crowe, Banda finished 2021 with a strong two mont stretch, and Hembree has a good track record. So it would not be a surprise to see these five form a strong bullpen core for the Pirates.

When more than half of your bullpen can be trusted to get big outs that is a huge step toward having a strong, reliable bullpen.

facebooktwitterreddit