Over the last few years, the Pittsburgh Pirates have struggled to find consistency in their starting rotation. The team had a gap in player development when the regimes changed over back in 2019. Also, the team hardly invested in their starting rotation bringing in cheap rentals like Derek Holland, Tyler Anderson, and Jose Quintana. Of course, Anderson and Quintana would be trade chips which made the rotation unstable.
However, the Pittsburgh Pirates look like they actually have a solid starting 5 and with more to come.
At the beginning of the year, the expectations were relatively low. The big free agent additions were 43-year-old lefty Rich Hill and starter-turned-reliever Vince Velasquez. On top of this, many knew that top prospects Luis Ortiz and Quinn Priester would be in the Minor Leagues to start the year.
That has not mattered. The Bucs' rotation has already passed expectations. Mitch Keller, the team's Opening Day starter has an ERA of 3.80 through his first 4 starts. Johan Oviedo, who was acquired last year in the Jose Quintana deal has been very impressive outside of one bad inning against Boston. On the year Oviedo has a 2.45 ERA through 3 games started.
These two players are important to the formula for this team's success now and in the future. Both Keller and Oviedo have shown the ability to provide top of the rotation type results. Those two performing like that right now have helped stabilize the rotation.
Rich Hill and Roansy Contreras have had some bumpy starts this year. Both their ERAs are over 5, but both have been greatly affected by one or two bad innings of work. To a lesser degree would be Vince Velasquez, who honestly has surpassed expectations. Hopefully, Oviedo and Keller can continue to develop and not just stabilize the rotation but lead it.