Starting rotation - Mitch Keller, Marco Gonzales, Martín Pérez, Roansy Contreras, Luis Ortiz
Hoo boy. No offense to anyone, but this group is the worst in the National League Central. Hell, if we're being honest, it is one of the worst in the entire National League. The Pirates BADLY need to add more starting pitching help before Opening Day.
Mitch Keller will once again anchor the group. Problem is, things go off a massive cliff after Keller. Plus, while Keller is undoubtedly a good MLB starting pitcher, he is not a true no. 1 starting pitcher, either.
Not having a true no. 1 is not a death sentence for a MLB starting rotation. However, when the rest of your rotation is a bunch of no. 5 guys at best, then, well, it quickly becomes a much bigger issue for said team.
If he is healthy, Marco Gonzales is a solid middle-to-back of the rotation arm, but after be limited to 10 starts due to a nerve issue in his forearm last season it is far form a given that Gonzales is healthy. Outside of 2022, Martín Pérez has not had a good season since 2013 and lost his spot in the Ranger starting rotation last season.
As for Roansy Contreras and Luis Ortiz, their jobs are far from locked in. Contreras is a safe bet to be on the roster in some fashion. He is out of minor league options and deserves one last shot before the Pirates give up on the former top 100 prospect.
We went Ortiz due to the ceiling he flashed in 2022. However, that pitched was nowhere to be seen in 2023. So if his spot went to another pitcher, perhaps Quinn Priester, it would not be a surprise.