Pittsburgh Pirates 2023 Opening Day Roster Prediction Version 3.0
Bullpen - David Bednar, Jarlín García, Jose Hernandez, Robert Stephenson, Colin Holderman, Wil Crowe, Chase De Jong
As was mentioned with the starting pitchers, one of Brubaker or Velasquez will likely start the season in the bullpen. This would make this an eight-man group, which is likely what manager Derek Shelton will desire to start the season.
Overall, there are a lot of question marks about the bullpen. It would not be a surprise to see Cherington add to this bunch before Opening Day. Outside of David Bednar, Jarlín Garcín, and Colin Holderman, odds are, no one is a lock for the Opening Day bullpen.
Jose Hernandez's odds of making the team are strong as he's a Rule 5 Draft player and the Pirates will want a second left-handed reliever, but if he struggles in spring training that's no guarantee. Chase De Jong likely enters spring training with a leg up on the competition as well. He has no minor league options and is coming off a career year. However, prior to 2023, he had struggled his entire MLB career so it would not be a shocker to see the Pirates leave him off the roster.
Robert Stephenson pitched well last September after he was claimed off waivers. However, like De Jong, he has a poor career track record. It's far from a guarantee Stephenson makes the team, but with his potential and what he flashed last September he probably makes the cut.
Wil Crowe is the opposite of Stephenson and De Jong in that he started last season strong before limping to the finish line. Combine this with him struggling throughout his career prior to last season, and it would not be a surprise to see his projected roster spot go to someone else.
Youngster Colin Selby is a fast-rising prospect who could force his way onto the roster with a strong spring. Yohan Ramirez, who quietly pitched well for the Pirates last season, could do something similar. Both of these pitchers could throw wrenches into the projected Opening Day bullpen. If he's fully healthy, Yerry De Los Santos can not be overlooked, either. The fact these three have minor league options remaining will likely work against them, though.