Pittsburgh Pirates: Previewing Potential Rotation Battle
If the Pirates want to put their best foot forward, Oviedo and Brubaker taking the last two spots would be the best option to open the year with. Oviedo has immense talent, and Brubaker pitched well for nearly a 100-inning stretch last season. Velasquez hasn't had an ERA+ of 100 or greater since 2016, and his best, most recent stretch of games was out of the bullpen.
But the Pirates seemed pretty set on opening the year with Velasquez in the starting rotation. Before the Pirates signed Hill, it almost seemed certain that Velasquez was going to have a starting rotation spot. At the very least, he was penciled in or had an inside track for one of the final spots. Now, it might be more of a two-way race between Brubaker and Oviedo.
In the end, I, along with most fans, hope the rotation is finalized with Oviedo, Brubaker, and Velasquez getting moved to the bullpen. But I also wouldn't hold my breath on the Pirates opting to go this route. Based on previous comments made by the org with Velasquez, he may still have that inside track.