Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Three Relievers Off to a Strong Start

Mar 1, 2021; Sarasota, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates Yerry De Los Santos (83) poses during media day at Ed Smith Stadium. Mandatory Credit: MLB Photos via USA Today Sports
Mar 1, 2021; Sarasota, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates Yerry De Los Santos (83) poses during media day at Ed Smith Stadium. Mandatory Credit: MLB Photos via USA Today Sports /
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Austin Roberts

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.

Next. Oneil Cruz Highlights Three Walk Offs in the Minors. dark

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.

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