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 Hunter Stratton

On November 17th, the Pirates non-tendered Hunter Stratton. This made the 27-year-old relief pitcher a free agent. When Stratton was non-tendered it was pretty quickly reported that the Pirates were interested in bringing Stratton back on a minor league contract. This minor league contract was signed on December 8th.

Last season, Stratton made his MLB debut with the Pirates in September. Stratton pitched 12.0 innings in 8 relief appearances with the Bucs in September. He posted a 2.25 ERA, 4.76 FIP, 6.4% walk rate, and a 21.% strikeout rate while limiting opponents to a .209 batting average.

All in all, it was a strong first taste of MLB action for Stratton. Outside of allowing a pair of home runs (1.50 HR/9), Stratton was very effective with the Pirates last September. He flashed plus stuff and looked like a potential late bloomer during his brief MLB stint.

Stratton will most likely star the 2024 season at Triple-A Indianapolis, where he has pitched 143.0 innings the past three seasons. Like Heller, even if Stratton begins the season in the minors the odds are likely high that he will see time in the Pirate bullpen this season.