Another guy we could see later this year is right-hander Austin Roberts. Roberts was an eighth-round draft pick by the Pittsburgh Pirates back in 2019. Despite his ugly ERA with the Grasshoppers in 2021, Roberts still had a 34.9% strikeout rate and 8.8% walk rate. Plus, he had a much healthier 4.04 xFIP, pointing to better things to come.
Despite already making his Triple-A debut, Roberts is currently stationed with the Altoona Curve. He’s resumed his role as a multi-inning reliever, having pitched six innings in 4 appearances. He’s only allowed one earned run but has 9 K’s. Walks haven’t been a massive issue either, with an 8.7% walk rate. While it is a small sample size of 23 batters faced, he has seen his K-rate increase while his walk rate remains constant.
When the Pittsburgh Pirates drafted Roberts, he was only hitting the low-90’s. But now, he sits closer to the 94-96 MPH range. He has topped out at 98 before. He also has a curveball that averages out with 2500 RPM of spin and a solid change-up. He could end up serving a similar role Wil Crowe is currently performing.