The future of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ rotation

The Pittsburgh Pirates' rotation has a very bright future ahead of them.
Mar 3, 2024; North Port, Florida, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Paul Skenes (30) throws a pitch in
Mar 3, 2024; North Port, Florida, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Paul Skenes (30) throws a pitch in / Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
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Another soft-tossing left-hander who has put themselves into staying in the rotation for a while is Bailey Falter. Falter did horrible in Spring Training and his first game of the season. But since then, he's logged 33.1 innings with a 3.24 ERA, 4.19 FIP, and 0.90 WHIP. While Falter has struck out less than 20% of opponents with an 18.7% rate, he's also been great at limiting walks with a 4.7% BB%. Home runs have given him some trouble, however, as he has a 10% barrel rate and 1.35 HR/9.

Still, Falter has been 10x better than many expected going into this year. The lefty is under control through 2028, and he's definitely earned his keep. If he continues pitching anything like this, Falter could be a really good middle-of-the-rotation starter. There's the potential that Falter is the worst starter in the Pirates rotation right now, but he still has an ERA under 3.50 over his last six outings.

The Pirates will also get Johan Oviedo back next year, assuming he progresses as planned. Oviedo pitched 177.2 innings in 2023 with a 4.31 ERA, 4.49 FIP, and 1.37 WHIP. His 10.6% walk rate, nor his 20.2% strikeout rate weren't outstanding, but he did keep his HR/9 under 1.00 at 0.96. But it was his first extended look in the Major Leagues after bouncing between Triple-A and MLB in 2020-2022 prior to heading over from St. Louis to Pittsburgh via the Jose Quintana trade. Oviedo still had 14 quality starts and 18 total outings where he went at least five innings, allowing three or fewer earned runs.

Oviedo, however, underwent Tommy John surgery early in December. That still puts him on track to return by Spring Training of next year. It was just unfortunate timing as the Pirates did not have much rotation depth at the time and Oviedo gave the Pirates a lot of outings. He was tied for the 4th most games started last year with 32.