Pittsburgh Pirates: 3 Potential Breakout Candidates

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Starting pitcher Johan Oviedo

It may have only happened due to JT Brubaker starting the season on the injured list, but 25-year-old righty Johan Oviedo will start the season in the Pirate starting rotation. That said, being in the MLB starting rotation is what's best for Oviedo and it's where he needed to be to start the season.

Oviedo made seven starts with the Pirates last September and flashed immense potential. He posted a 3.23 ERA, 3.47 FIP, 11.9% walk rate, and a 20.9% strikeout rate in 30.2 innings across these seven starts.

Overall for the season he posted a 3.21 ERA, 3.47 FIP, 9.5% walk rate, 22.3% strikeout rate, and a 0.80 HR/9 in 56.0 innings pitched. Between the Pirates and Cardinals he pitched in 21 games, with eight of them being starts.

Both Oviedo's fastball and slider can be plus pitches. His curveball has plus potential as well, and he was working on adding a power sinker this spring. There are plenty of tools in the toolbox for Oviedo and seeing him cement himself as a long-term starting rotation building block this season would not be a surprise.