Pittsburgh Pirates: Injury Returns Could Boost 2023 Bullpen


The Pittsburgh Pirates will get Yerry De Los Santos and Colin Holderman back from injury in 2023 and this could help the bullpen tremendously

In mid-to-late August, the Pittsburgh Pirates’ bullpen took a massive blow, well, three, actually. From August 12th through August 25th, the Pirates placed all three of Yerry De Los Santos, Colin Holderman, and David Bednar on the injured list. Of the three, only Bednar would return this year. The Pirates set themselves up to use this trio in late innings and high-leverage situations for the rest of the year, and it was gone in a matter of two weeks.

Luckily, the Pittsburgh Pirates will get both De Los Santos and Holderman back next season.

When De Los Santos landed on the IL, he had a 4.91 ERA in his first 25.2 innings as a major league baseball player. However, of the 14 earned runs he allowed, four came in the last appearance of his season. After he gave up four earned runs and three walks without recording an out, De Los Santos would be placed on the IL for a shoulder strain.

Up until his poor outing, De Los Santos had just a 3.51 ERA, 3.66 FIP, and 1.09 WHIP. He struck out 24.3% of the batters he faced while inducing ground balls at a 52.9% rate. On top of that, he was decent at limiting hard contact with an 88.7 MPH exit velocity and 38.8% hard-hit rate. Losing De Los Santos was a massive blow to the Pirates, especially since he was seeing an increasing amount of time in late innings and high-leverage situations.

Holderman’s season numbers were also spoiled by a final blow-up outing before landing on the IL with a shoulder injury. Up until then, he had a 2.22 ERA, 3.11 FIP, and 1.06 WHIP between his time with the New York Mets and Pirates. He also didn’t allow a single home run in 28.1 innings. The downside is Holderman only had a K:BB ratio of 1.85, which is certainly nothing to brag about.

But Holderman should improve as he gets more playing time. Holderman has a great sinker that he can throw hard. He also has a slider that held opponents to a .114 batting average against and a 41% whiff rate. If Holderman utilizes his slider more, he’s a guy who could push for a 30% K-rate. It also helps that he has decent command.

Next. David Bednar to Pitch in the WBC. dark

When both Holderman and De Los Santos return to the Pirates’ bullpen, they could form a formidable three between them and Bednar. Of course, three pitchers don’t make a bullpen, but the Pirates are at least getting two good relievers back next season that they’ll look on to rely on heavily in high-leverage situations. Bednar, De Los Santos, and Holderman could be quite the underrated trio.