Pittsburgh Pirates Have the Building Blocks For a Strong Starting Rotation

Aug 28, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Roansy Contreras (59) throws a pitch against the Philadelphia Phillies during the fifth inning at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 28, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Roansy Contreras (59) throws a pitch against the Philadelphia Phillies during the fifth inning at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /
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PITTSBURGH, PA – AUGUST 23: Roansy Contreras #59 of the Pittsburgh Pirates looks on during the game against the Atlanta Braves at PNC Park on August 23, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA – AUGUST 23: Roansy Contreras #59 of the Pittsburgh Pirates looks on during the game against the Atlanta Braves at PNC Park on August 23, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

Budding ace Roansy Contreras

When the Pittsburgh Pirates traded Jameson Taillon to the New York Yankees following the 2020 season the best prospect they received in return was Roansy Contreras. Since then, Contreras has developed into one of the best pitching prospects in all of baseball.

Contreras made one MLB start in 2021 before getting his first extended look in 2022. While he had some ups and downs, Contreras, who is just 23-years-old, looked like a budding ace for much of the 2022 season.

In 21 outings with the Pirates, 18 of which were starts, Contreras pitched 95 innings. Contreras posted a 3.79 ERA, 4.38 FIP, 1.23 HR/9, he walked 9.6% of batters faced, and struck batters out at a 21.1% clip.

Contreras flashed a power fastball and absolutely wicked, wipeout slider during his 2022 season as he went on to be worth a 1.2 WAR. There were times it was clear that Contreras still needs to improve in terms of how he attacks hitters and pitch selection, but the stuff to be a top of the rotation arm is there. If he can take another step forward in 2023, then the Pirates may have a true ace on their hands.

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