Coming off a strong 2022 minor league season, left-handed relief pitcher Nick Dombkowski could make his MLB debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2023
Building a quality bullpen is a vital part of a Major League Baseball team finding success. As fans saw with the Pittsburgh Pirates during the 2022 season, accomplishing this can be much easier said than done.
In order to build a quality bullpen a baseball club can look to a variety of different places. Trades, free agency, waiver claims, their farm systems, and failed starting pitcher can all be options for a bullpen.
For the Pittsburgh Pirates, answers need to be found for the 2023 bullpen. Outside of David Bednar, there are no relievers that the Pirates will enter the 2023 season with top notch confidence in.
As the 2023 season progresses the Pirate bullpen could improve. This is due to the Pirates having multiple quality relief pitching prospects in position to potentially graduate to the majors in 2023. One of these prospects is lefty Nick Dombkowski.
Dombkowski joined the Pirates as an undrafted free agent following the 2021 MLB Draft. It did not take him long to impress as he posted a 3.86 ERA in 11 games pitched at Low-A after signing in 2021.
During the 2022 season, Dombkowski built on this as he pitched well. Dombkowksi did not just pitched well for the entirety of the 2022 season, he did it across three different minor league levels.
Dombkowski pitched for Low-A Bradenton, High-A Greensboro, and Double-A Altoona this past season. Across the three levels he pitched 67.1 innings in 36 outings. Dombkowski posted a 3.07 ERA, 3.26 FIP, 6.8% walk rate, 30.7% strikeout rate, and a home run rate of 0.94 HR/9.
At 24-years-old Dombkowski burst onto the scene as a legitimate relief pitching prospect with his performance in 2022. What was most encouraging was his strong walk rate, paired with an above average strikeout rate. Any time a reliever is keeping walks low and strikeouts up, especially while also limiting the long ball, they will be in position to find success.
Following his breakout campaign in 2022, Dombkowski should be in position to make his MBL debut at some point during the 2023 season. Dombkowski could start the 2023 season at Triple-A Indianapolis, and, honestly, there is a strong argument to be made for this to be the case.
If everything goes according to plan then Dombkowski will join the Pirate bullpen at some pouting during the 2023 season. Then if everything goes according to plan from there, he should become a long-term building block in their bullpen.