Pittsburgh Pirates: Projecting the Opening Day Bullpen
By Marty Leap
The other two spots - righty Dauri Moreta, lefty Angel Perdomo
Entering spring training it seemed like long odds that either Dauri Moreta or Angel Perdomo would be part of the team's Opening Day bullpen. Well, things can often times change in baseball and, now, here we are.
Moreta was acquired from the Cincinnati Reds for Kevin Newman in an offseason trade. The 26-year-old righty posted a 5.40 ERA, 5.80 FIP, 8.1% walk rate, 24.4% strikeout rate, and a 2.35 HR/9 in 38.1 innings pitched last season.
However, it was the tale of two seasons for Moreta. After being optioned to Triple-A in early May he re-joined the Reds on June 19th. From June 19th through the end of the season Moreta pitched 24.2 innings, posting a 2.92 ERA, 3.92 FIP, 7.2% walk rate, 23.7% strikeout rate, and, most importantly, his home run rate plummeted to 1.02 HR/9.
Moreta throws a plus slider and power four-seamed fastball that is a plus pitch. This spring, he has posted a 1.17 ERA, to go with just a single walk, no home runs allowed, and 10 strikeouts in 7.2 innings pitched. When you combine Moreta's plus stuff, strong spring performance, and injuries, the odds of him having pitched his way onto the Opening Day roster appear to be high.
As for Perdomo, being a lefty works in his favor. Heading north with Hernandez, who has never pitched above Double-A, as the only lefty in the bullpen would be a risky move. Perdomo has MLB experience, owing an 8.24 ERA, but 33 strikeouts in 18.2 innings pitched with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Perdomo has pitched 7.2 innings this spring. He's walked five batters and allowed two home runs, which contributes to his 8.22 ERA this spring, but he has struck out 10 batters. Perdomo's slider and four-seamer both limited opposing batters to a batting average below .200 last season with whiff rates over 33%.
Perdomo has intriguing stuff. This combined with the team's need for another lefty in the bullpen has us projecting him to land a spot in the team's Opening Day bullpen. Due to being a non-roster invitee to spring training the Pittsburgh Pirates will need to clear a 40-man roster spot for Perdomo, but García appears headed for the 60-day injured list which would make this easy to do.