Friday night, the Pittsburgh Pirates will travel to Lakeland for a primetime Grapefruit League matchup with the Detroit Tigers
The Grapefruit League schedule is starting to wind down for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Owning a 9-14-3 record, the Pirates will travel to Publix Field in Lakeland on Friday night to play the Detroit Tigers at 6:05 PM ET. This will be Grapefruit League game 27 of 31.
Roansy Contreras is slated to start for the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night. This will be his second appearance since returning to the Pirate after pitching for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic.
So far this spring, Contreras has a 3.00 ERA in 6.0 Grapefruit League innings pitched. He's allowed five hits, no home runs, walked a batter, and struck out seven. He was also dominant for Team DR in the WBC.
Contreras will likely look to pitch at least 4, if not 5 innings on Friday night as the Pirates have him begin to rev up for the start of the regular season. The team will be looking for the 23-year-old to take a big step forward this season.
Last season, Contreras posted a 3.79 ERA, 4.38 FIP, 1.23 HR/9, 9.6% walk rate, and a 21.1% strikeout rate. These results came in 95.0 innings pitched in 21 appearances, 18 of which were starts. This led to him posting a strong 1.3 WAR as just a 22-year-old.
The Pirates still have a few position battles going on in camp. Rodolfo Castro and Ji Hwan Bae continue to battle for the second base job. With neither having seized the job, odds are, both will make the Opening Day roster and we could see Derek Shelton playing the hot hand to start the season.
Outfielder Travis Swaggerty and Canaan Smith-Njigba continue to push for an Opening Day roster spot as well. Both have been red hot this spring, and it's hard to envision neither of them cracking the roster.