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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But there are a lot of other arms in the Pirates' system who could potentially take over a rotation spot in the near future. Heading into this year, some had Bubba Chandler ranked over Jared Jones. Chandler had a sub-2.00 ERA in the second half of last season with massively improved command. He has opened the year at Double-A Altoona, where he's posted a strong 3.10 ERA, 3.30 FIP, and 1.19 WHIP in 20.1 innings. While Chandler has walked 12.2% of the batters he's faced, he also has a 28.8% K% and has only allowed a single home run.

Chandler arguably has an even higher ceiling than Jones. That's because he can throw just as hard as Jones, sitting in the upper 90s and topping out at 100 MPH. He also has a plus slider, an above-average change-up, and an average curveball. The command hasn't been great so far, but Chandler's ceiling is higher because of his athleticism. The Pirates drafted Chandler as a two-way SS/RHP. He's bringing the athleticism of a shortstop to the mound.

Another highly touted prospect in the system is Anthony Solometo. He's a soft-tossing lefty with arguably the best command in the system. He had a quality 2023 season and opened 2024 at Altoona alongside Chandler. So far, he hasn't been nearly as effective as his fellow rotation mate and 2021 draft pick. He's allowed nine earned runs in 16 innings. Although he has 15 K's, he also has walked a lot more batters than what you'd expect, already handing out 11 free passes.

Solometo hasn't had the best start to the year, but his most recent outing was his best one of the season. Solometo is also still just 21, and just a few months older than Paul Skenes. I wouldn't throw the towel in on him after less than 20 innings in 2024. He's someone else who could fit in the Pirates' rotation in the long haul.