3 out of options pitchers to watch during Spring Training

The Pirates should monitor these three pitchers are out of options with their current teams and could hit waivers at th end of Spring Training.

Division Series - Atlanta Braves v Miami Marlins - Game Three
Division Series - Atlanta Braves v Miami Marlins - Game Three / Bob Levey/GettyImages
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Thyago Vieira

I mentioned Thyago Vieira as a free agent target for the Pirates a few years ago. At the time, Vieira was coming off three quality seasons with the Japanese team, the Yomiuri Giants. Vieira did not sign that off-season, but rather last off-season on a minor league deal with the Milwaukee Brewers. Although he spent most of his 2023 season with the Brewers’ Triple-A team, he did reappear in the big leagues with the Brewers but only pitched two innings. However, Vieira is now out of options.

The hard-throwing right-hander spent 37.2 innings at Triple-A, pitching to a 3.35 ERA, 3.33 FIP, and 1.22 WHIP. Vieira had a strikeout rate of 31.7% and a 0.72 HR/9 rate. After having an 11.5% walk rate in the NBP, Vieira cut that down to 9.2% at Triple-A. What’s most impressive about this is that he had to adjust to the automated strike zone, and walks across the league had gone up because of it.

Vieira throws a slider, sinker, and four-seam fastball. Both his sinker and fastball average out around 97-98 MPH. Vieira topped out at 99 MPH in his few Major League appearances in 2023. Meanwhile, his slider sits in the upper-80s and peaked at 90.8 MPH in the Majors. He has consistently gotten swings and misses between the minor leagues and Japan.

While the Pirate bullpen is pretty set, they probably have at least two bullpen spots remaining. One will likely go to a long reliever, with the other going to one of their multiple options in camp, including Kyle Nicolas, Hunter Stratton, Ben Heller, Colin Selby, Jose Hernandez, Ryder Ryan, or Brent Honeywell. The Brewers have their bullpen options, but Vieira isn’t guaranteed to land a spot.