Pittsburgh Pirates: Projected 40-Man Roster After Protecting Players From Rule 5 Draft

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Pittsburgh Pirates
Indianapolis Triple-A baseball team pitcher Cody Bolton throws the ball during the game against the Omaha Storm Chasers on Tuesday, April 5, 2022, at Victory Field in Indianapolis.Baseball 220405 Indianapolis Triple A Baseball Team Opener Omaha Storm Chasers At Indianapolis Triple A Baseball Team /

Notable Exclusions

The most significant exclusion I have is Cody Bolton. Bolton is coming off a decent but worrying 2022 campaign. After not pitching competitively in 2020 or 2021, Bolton rebounded in ‘22, working to the tune of a 3.09 ERA, 3.81 FIP, and 1.28 WHIP. While Bolton did have a quality 25.4% K-rate and .48 HR/9, he also walked 12.4% of the batters he faced and had a 4.85 xFIP. The Pirates could try and find a trade partner for Bolton if they feel they can get something out of him instead of exposing him to the draft.

Abrahan Gutierrez is the next notable omission I have. The catching prospect was acquired at the 2021 trade deadline and posted good numbers in 2022. Through 441 plate appearances, Gutierrez slashed .257/.356/.411 with a .353 wOBA and 113 wRC+. While his 25.4% strikeout rate and .154 isolated slugging percentage were nothing to brag about, the backstop also walked 11.8% of the time and had a 132 wRC+ in the second half. Like Bolton, the Pirates might be able to find a trade partner before the Rule 5 draft.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have a handful of pitching prospects they’ll likely leave unprotected, like Ricky DeVito, Eddy Yean, and Santiago Florez. All three have good stuff but have struggled dramatically with command and performance on the mound. They’re a Rule 5 archetype pitcher, but the Pirates likely aren’t losing much if one gets selected.

The Pirates do not have many other position players I consider notable exclusions. Rodolfo Nolasco is the closest, but with no playing time above A-Ball, the chances he is selected are slim to none. Matt Fraizer is the most notable unprotected prospect I have projected, but he is coming off a rough 2022 campaign at Double-A.