After pitching well at Triple-A Indianapolis, is it time for Roansy Contreras to return to the Pittsburgh Pirates?
When the Pittsburgh Pirates traded Jameson Taillon to the New York Yankees following the 2020 season, pitcher Roansy Contreras was one of the main pieces that the team acquired. It did not take Contreras long to become one of the top pitching prospects in the Pirate system.
Contreras would make his MLB debut for one start in September 2021. He pitched well with the Bucs in 2022 and turned in a strong April this season. At the end of April this season Contreras owned a 3.65 ERA, 3.99 FIP, 9.7% walk rate, and 21.3% strikeout rate in his first 125.2 MLB innings pitched.
Since then, things went south for Contreras.
From the start of May until July 5th Contreras pitched 40.2 innings. Losing his spot in the starting rotation along the way, Contreras posted an 8.63 ERA, 6.73 FIP, 10.8% walk rate, 16.7% strikeout rate, and a home run rate of 2.43 HR/9.
These struggles were accompanied by a drop in fastball velocity. It led to Contreras being sent to the FCL to completely press restart before joining the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians. While his fastball velocity has still been down with Indy, Contreras has pitched much better.
Contreras has now pitched in five games with Indy, logging 20.0 innings. He has posted a 3.15 ERA, to go with a 7.8% walk rate, 24.7% strikeout rate, a 1.80 HR/9, and he's limited opposing batters to a .200 batting average with the Indians.
With this performance Contreras is pushing for a return to the majors. Currently, Mitch Keller and Johna Oviedo are the only true starting pitchers on the Pirate roster. That combined with the way Contreras has pitched with Indy should earn him another opportunity in the majors this season.
At this point, there is little reason not to give Contreras another two or three starts in the majors this month before the season ends. Especially since Contreras will be out of options next season, meaning he will need to crack the Opening Day roster or be exposed to waivers. It's time to see what Contreras can do in the majors again.