Pittsburgh Pirates Opening Day Roster Prediction: New Year Edition

Pittsburgh Pirates v Baltimore Orioles
Pittsburgh Pirates v Baltimore Orioles / Mitchell Layton/GettyImages
6 of 6

Bullpen - David Bednar, Wil Crowe, Robert Stephenson, Colin Holderman, Jarlín García, Jose Hernandez, Chase De Jong

The bullpen is a bit more difficult to predict. There are certianly arguments to be made for Yohan Ramirez and Yerry De Los Santos, assuming the ladder is healthy, to also crack the Opening Day bullpen. However, having minor league options may hurt them.

We'll start by looking at the stone cold locks. David Bednar is an All-Star and one of the best high-leverage arms in the National League. Jarlín García was added in free agency to boost the bullpen, and Jose Hernandez will be there to as the seocnd lefty. Hernandez, as a Rule 5 Draft addition, must remain on the active roster all season as well. Chase De Jong is out of options and coming off the best season of his career, he'll be the long/swing man. Colin Holderman was acquired in the Daniel Vogelbach trade for a reason, he'll also be in the Opening Day bullpen.

That leaves two more spots in the bullpen. Right now the safe bets for these spots would be Wil Crowe and Robert Stephenson.

While Crowe struggled mightily down the stretch last season, the Pirates need to find out who the real reliever Crowe is. The Crowe who was lights out the first three months of the season or the Crowe who limped to the finish line.

As for Stephenson, the former first-round pick has electric stuff as a reliever. After being acquired by the Pittsburgh Pirates late last season he was excellent for the Bucs in September. Have the Pirates helped Stephenson figured something out and turn a corner? The hope is yes, and this gets him an Opening Day bullpen spot.

In addition to De Los Santos and Ramirez, Zach Thompson, Duane Underwood Jr., Colin Selby, and Dauri Moreta could all compete for a spot in the Opening Day bullpen as well. If Hernandez struggles in the spring and the Pirates determine they do not want to attempt to keep him on the roster for the entire season, this could open up a spot. The bullpen could be a spot that sees the predictions fluctuate throughout the spring.