Pittsburgh Pirates: Counting on Healthy Returns to Provide Crucial Depth

Pittsburgh Pirates v Philadelphia Phillies
Pittsburgh Pirates v Philadelphia Phillies / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages
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The Pittsburgh Pirates are looking ahead to 2024 with optimism after a tough 2023 season riddled with injuries. Several key players ended the year on the 60-day injured list (IL) but could make a major difference if they return healthy next season.

Right-hander JT Brubaker emerged as a solid starter for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2021 and 2022, going 9-28 with a 4.99 ERA over 61 starts in those seasons. While his ERA was high he definitely showed glimpses of potential. But his 2023 was cut short after just 15 starts by arm trouble. In his career, Brubaker has started 61 games with a 9-28 record, 4.99 ERA, and 324 strikeouts over 315.2 innings. Getting a healthy Brubaker back for a full season's workload would bolster the rotation.

Brubaker's arm injury tested the Pirates' rotation depth immediately for 2023, showing how much the team needs his innings. Getting the righty back would bring stability to the rotation depth. However, he should not be relied upon and should be viewed more as insurance or depth rather than making sure there is a spot for him in the rotation. The rotation needs to be improved this offseason.

Lefty reliever Angel Perdomo looked ready to take the next step after posting a 2.89 ERA in 2022. But shoulder and elbow injuries ruined his 2023 season. Perdomo was limited to 30 appearances and 29 innings, going 3-2 with a 3.72 ERA. In his career so far, Perdomo has pitched to a 5.55 ERA in 52 games while racking up 77 strikeouts in 48.2 innings. Getting him back to his 2022 form would give the Pirates bullpen a much-needed quality lefty arm.