There is no bigger question mark about the 2023 Pittsburgh Pirates than their bullpen. During the 2022 season the Pirate bullpen was one of the worst in baseball. Thus far, no additions have been made to change the outlook of this group.
Now, additions will be made. To be honest, additions have to be made. The Pirates currently have zero left-handed pitchers on their 40-man roster. This is not sustainable in any fashion, but especially for the bullpen. Left-handed bullpen help will be added in soem fashion before Opening Day.
David Bednar is of course a lock for the Opening Day bullpen. Despite some hiccups prior to an injured list stint last season, the All-Star reliever is one of the best in baseball. Wil Crowe struggled in the second half last season, but is likely a lock for the Opening Day bullpen. The same goes for Robert Stephenson who pitched very well after being claimed off waivers for the Pirates last season, as well as Colin Holderman who was acquired in the Daniel Vogelbach trade. Chase De Jong is likely in a good spot as well following a career year in 2022.
After these five, any other relief options are liable to lose their spots as additions are made to the bullpen. That said, Yohan Ramirez and Yerry De Los Santos should be in a good spot to crack the Opening Day bullpen. Even if they do not, they’ll be the first men up from the minors.
If Opening Day was tomorrow, this would likely be the Pirate bullpen:
- David Bednar
- Wil Crowe
- Robert Stephenson
- Colin Holderman
- Chase De Jong
- Yohan Ramirez
- Yerry De los Santos
- Duane Underwood Jr.
Again, the outlook for the team’s Opening Day roster will change drastically between now and then. Hell, depending on when you read this the outlook for the Opening Day roster may already look different. That said, it is still a fun exercise to view where the projected Opening Day roster currently stands and watch that change and evolve as the offseason unfolds.
What’s most important, however, is that as currently constructed this group appears to be better than the group that broke camp with the Pirates in 2022.