Getting to know the newest members of the Pittsburgh Pirates

What numbers will the new additions to the Pirate 40-man roster wear?

Sep 22, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Kansas City Royals designated hitter Edward Olivares (14) runs to
Sep 22, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Kansas City Royals designated hitter Edward Olivares (14) runs to / Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
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Already in the organization, now on the 40-man roster

The Pittsburgh Pirates decided to protect two players from the Rule 5 Draft this offseason. Those two players were right-handed pitcher Braxton Ashcraft and left-handed hitting middle infielder Tsung-Che Cheng.

Ashcraft was once the 51st overall pick in the draft. However, injuries and the COVID-19 pandemic cancelling the 2020 minor league season have wrecked havoc on his minor league career thus far. Returning from Tommy John surgery, Ashcraft got back on the mound last seaosn pitching 52.2 innings between Low-A, High-A, and Double-A.

The 24-year-old righty still has plenty of potential as a pitcher, even if that is as a reliever and not a starting pitcher. Ashcraft could pitch his way to the majors in 2024, and will open the season wearing number 67 on the Pirate 40-man roster.

As for Cheng, he started 202 on fire at High-A Greensboro. Cheng earned a promotion to Double-A Altoona. Even though he struggled with the Curve, he still flashed good things with the Curve. Cheng will wear number 71.

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