Pittsburgh Pirates: Three Intriguing Non-Roster Invitee Pitchers to Watch This Spring

Three intriguing non-roster invitee pitchers to watch this spring

Jul 1, 2023; Cumberland, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Ben Heller (71) pitches against
Jul 1, 2023; Cumberland, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Ben Heller (71) pitches against / Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
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Right-handed pitcher Ben Heller

Ben Heller has pitched parts of 5 seasons in the majors. He pitched for the New York Yankees in 2016, 2017, 2019, and 2020. Last season, he saw time in the majors in the Atlanta Brave bullpen. Heller also spent time on Tampa Bay's active roster last season but did not appear in a game with the Rays.

In 18.2 innings pitched with the Braves last season Heller posted a 3.86 ERA, 5.02 FIP, 13.4% walk rate, and a 19.5% strikeout rate. For his MLB career, Heller has pitched 50.0 innings, posting a 3.06 ERA, 5.36 FIP, 11.8% walk rate, and a 20.9% strikeout rate.

Heller has plus stuff and the potential to be a good reliever in the majors. However, throughout his career he has battled injuries, including Tommy John surgery which cost him all of 2018 and most of 2019.

To be honest, it may not be out of the realm of possibility for Heller to pitch his way onto the team's Opening Day roster this spring. Even if Heller starts the season at Triple-A, he should find his way into the Pirate bullpen at some point this season.