February 22, 2024, spring training notebook: Contreras looks sharp, Johnson turning heads

Wednesday was a good day to get a look at some of the Pittsburgh Pirates' top pitching talent including Roasny Contreras, Paul Skenes, and Aroldis Chapman.

Oakland Athletics v Pittsburgh Pirates
Oakland Athletics v Pittsburgh Pirates / Justin K. Aller/GettyImages
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Right-handed starting pitcher Roansy Contreras continues to look good early in camp according to the Post Gazette's Jason Mackey. "Roansy Contreras has been very, very good," Mackey said in a video he posted on X on Wednesday. "Probably the biggest takeaway so far on Roansy has been his confidence. It's been back."

Contreras is coming off a 2023 season in which he made 19 appearances for the Pirates including 11 starts, posting a 6.59 ERA and 5.19 FIP across 68.1 innings pitched. The 24-year-old out of the Dominican Republic will be battling it out this spring for a spot in the Pirate rotation.

Also throwing live batting practice on Wednesday was newly signed reliever Aroldis Chapman as well as top-ranked prospect and 2023 first overall pick Paul Skenes.

Not necessarily Pirates related but if the club does choose to add to their starting rotation depth, one less option is now on the board. Hyun Jin Ryu is officially going back to South Korea to end his career, signing a reported eight year deal worth 17 billion won or approximately $12.8 million USD with the Hanwha Eagles with whom he started his professional career. Jeeho Yoo of Yonhap news in Seoul, South Korea first broke the details.

Alex Stumpf of MLB.com on Wednesday released his most recent newsletter and a big part of that was the development of second base prospect Termarr Johnson. While Johnson is still in the early stages of his development, the 19-year-old is turning heads in Bradenton and has caught the eye of manager Derek Shelton as well.

In the article, Shelton was very complimentary of Johnson's abilities both in the field and at the plate, discussing his advanced approach at the plate despite still being a teenager. "It's exciting to see a young guy like that within our group," Shelton said in Stumpf's piece. We fully recommend you check out Alex's latest newsletter which is linked above.