Pittsburgh Pirates top pitching prospect Roansy Contreras made his final start of the season on Sunday afternoon as he capped off a strong rookie campaign
A big part of the 2022 season for the Pittsburgh Pirates has been their young players. One of the young players who generated the most buzz from the Pirates and fans alike this season was starting pitcher Roansy Contreras.
Contreras entered the season as a consensus top 100 prospect and the top pitching prospect in the Pirate farm system. He started the season in the Pirate bullpen, before being optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis and then returning to the majors to join the starting rotation.
Sunday afternoon Contreras made his final start of the season. Contreras did not end the season on the note he was hoping to, allowing 3 runs, just 1 earned, on three hits, two walks, a home run, and no strikeouts in 3 innings pitched.
With this outing Contreras finishes the season with 95 innings pitched in 21 MLB appearances. 18 of these 21 appearances have been starts. Contreras finishes his first MLB season with a 3.79 ERA, 4.38 FIP, 9.4% walk rate and a 21.9% strikeout rate.
Contreras regularly flashed his plus stuff during his strong rookie campaign. He currently ranks in the 81st percentile of baseball in fastball velocity, 85th percentile in fastball spin rate and 82nd percentile in curveball spin rate. This has helped put Contreras in the 68th percentile of baseball in whiff rate and 85th percentile in chase rate.
Opposing batters hit just .212 while slugging .333 off his curveball to go with a 20.8% whiff rate. While opposing batters did hit .270 and slug .515 off his fastball, the pitch still generated a 19.4% whiff rate. Moving forward, Contreras will need to have a better fastball. Throwing the pitch less could help improve the success rate of the pitch.
The best pitch Contreras has is his slider. Opposing batters his just .167 and slugged .280 off the pitch while it generated a healthy 43.0% whiff rate. Also, just simply using the eye test would tell you that his slider is a plus pitch with elite potential.
Possibly the most impressive facet of the season Contreras put together is that he did it at just 22-years-old. That is very young for a starting pitcher to be finding this much success in the majors. While Contreras still has soem growing and learning to do when it comes to how he pitches to hitters, adjusting to hitters, and his pitch usage, he was able to do things that few starting pitchers can do in the majors at 22.
Looking ahead to 2023, the Pittsburgh Pirates will be expecting Contreras to take another step forward. Contreras will be expected to solidify himself as the top of the starting rotation anchor as he refines himself as a major league starting pitcher.