Pittsburgh Pirates Opening Day Roster Prediction: New Year Edition
By Marty Leap
Starting Rotation - Mitch Keller, Roansy Contreras, Rich Hill, Johan Oviedo, Vince Velasquez, JT Brubaker
The Pirate starting rotation quietly has some quality depth. Especially with Quinn Priester, Mike Burrows, and Luis Ortiz all slated to start at the Triple-A level and be on the door step of the major leagues.
To start the season, however, it would not be a surprise to see the team go with a six-man rotation, which is not uncommon early in seasons. Mitch Keller, Roansy Contreras, and Rich Hill are all locks to be in the Opening Day starting rotation. Having Johan Oviedostart the year in the minors or the bullpen would make little sense, especially after how well he pitched in seven September starts last year.
Starting with a six-man starting rotation also allows the Pirates to watch innings and the work load of pitchers early in the season. You could also see a situation where Velasquez and Brubaker are used in a piggybacking role to begin the season.
If the Pittsburgh Pirates do start the season with a more traditional five-man starting rotation then likely Velasquez or Brubaker would be pushed to the bullpen. But to start the season, look for a six-man rotation to be a real possibility.