Pittsburgh Pirates: Monday Will Be a Day of Debuts

Reinforcements are on the way from Triple-A

Feb 22, 2023; Bradenton, FL, USA;  Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Endy Rodriguez (25) poses for photos
Feb 22, 2023; Bradenton, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Endy Rodriguez (25) poses for photos / Dave Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
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Monday night will be one of debuts at PNC Park for the Pittsburgh Pirates

It was first reported by Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Saturday that 2019 first-round pick Quinn Priester would start for the Pittsburgh Pirates and make his MLB debut at PNC Park on Monday night. Well, Priester will not be the only Young Buc heading to PNC Park on Monday.

On Sunday, news broke that both highly touted catching prospect Endy Rodriguez and infield prospect Liover Peguero would join the Pirates on Monday. For Rodriguez, this will also be his MLB debut.

Priester has struggled with consistency at Triple-A Indy this season. In 18 starts, he's posted a 4.31 ERA, 3.86 FIP, 9.3% walk rate, and a 22.4% strikeout rate in 87.2 innings pitched. At this point there does not appear to be much development left with Priester. Factor in the Pirates being in dire need of starting pitching help and it's time to see what the youngster can do.

As for Rodriguez, he has been red hot at the plate lately. In his last 161 PAs, Rodriguez has hit for a .321/.398/.457 slash line with a 117 wRC+, 11.2% walk rate, and just a 15.5% strikeout rate. With neither Austin Hedges nor Jason Delay contributing anything to the Pirates a move at catcher was long overdue.

It's obvious at this point that the Pirates are not comfortable handing every day catching duties over the Henry Davis. Hopefully, they will be comfortable enough to do so with Rodriguez. He and Davis need to be the two splitting up catching duties the rest of the season.

Peguero is the one player who will not be making his MLB debut on Monday, but will still be making his 2023 debut. Between Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis, Peguero hit .260/.333/.462 with a 114 wRC+ and 10.1% walk rate in 348 plate appearances this season.

The 22-year-old Peguero had a cup of coffee in the majors last season, going 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored. With Peguero having a strong season in the minors and swinging a hot bat of late, hopefully, he can settle into regular at-bats at either shortstop or second base until Oneil Cruz returns from the injured list.

In the past 12 weeks, there has not been much excitement around Pirate baseball. Monday night, however, could be an exciting one at PNC Park with Priester, Rodriguez, and Peguero on the way. The hope is that the Young Bucs can provide a spark to a scuffling team, while also providing hope for 2024 and beyond.

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