While Selby might provide the Pittsburgh Pirates with a significant boost in the bullpen, he’s still only one player and a right-handed pitcher at that. The Pirates have almost nothing in the way of left-handed pitching. With that, the team could start left-handed relief prospect Nick Dombkowski, in the major leagues at the start of next year.
Dombkowski pitched at three different minor league levels in 2022, starting at Low-A Bradenton and finishing out the year with Double-A Altoona. In total, he tossed 67.2 innings in 36 appearances. Dombkowski had a quality 3.07 ERA, 3.26 FIP, and 1.10 WHIP in his first professional season. His 0.94 HR/9 was his weakest peripheral stat, as he struck out 30.7% of the batters he faced with a 6.8% walk rate. Dombkowski led Pirates minor league relief pitchers in many stats, including K:BB ratio at 4.53, FIP, xFIP at 3.76, and strikeout rate.
While Dombkowski struck out his fair share of batters, he is not a hard-throwing southpaw. He averages out at 88-91 MPH, but his arm speed and delivery help hide it to add deception. It’s still not a great offering, but it plays up some. His change-up and slider are considered plus offerings, though. His slider is a bit more consistent, but his secondary offerings are better than his primary fastball.
The Pirates do not have any lefties in the bullpen as of writing this. They don’t have a single left-hander on the 40-man roster. With 2023 marking Dombkowski’s age-24 campaign, he has a fair shot of making the Pirate Opening Day roster. It’s still unknown what kind of role Dombkowski would play. He might see a slight uptick in velocity if he only works 1-2 innings at a time. But even in a long-relief role, Dombkowski looks like he could be part of the roster for a while.