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Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Pirates Discussion: Have Ro-Self a Day

Roansy Contreras didn’t dazzle, but he showed why there’s reason to be excited for his future.

Facing the reigning World Series Champion Atlanta Braves who currently hold the first Wild Card, Contreras put up his best MLB start to date.

Ronald Acuna Jr. lead off the game with a double that would be the hardest ball hit of the evening at 110.6 MPH (per Baseball Savant). Contreras then set down the next three batters on 11 pitches. Roansy continued to throw strikes throughout his start, throwing 67% of his 89 pitches for strikes. Although the Braves did draw three walks to go along with their four hits.

Contreras was going back and forth with Braves starter Jake Odorizzi, keeping the game in a 0-0 tie until the fifth inning, when a couple of young Braves’ rookies ended the tie game. To start off the fifth inning, rookie 2B Vaughn Grissom singled to left field. Two pitches later, rookie OF Michael Harris II hit a hanging curveball to left center for a 2-0 lead.

In the bottom of the inning Oneil Cruz — looking to break out of a slump — took an inside 87.7 MPH cutter from Odorizzi and hit it 108.7 MPH (per Baseball Savant) into the Clemente Wall stands.

The three total runs scored between both teams in the fifth inning would be all the offense scored on the evening. Neither starter surrendered another run and the bullpens for both teams combined to allow only one hit and one walk the rest of the way. Contreras ended up going seven innings for the first time in the big leagues with his last seven inning start coming with the Altoona Curve in June of 2021. Contreras has now gone at least six innings in each of his last three MLB starts.

Roansy continued to lean heavily on a Fastball-Slider combo throwing the two for a combined 89% of his pitches. The fastball topped out at 97 MPH and sat mostly 95 MPH. The Slider showed good separation coming in 10 MPH slower than the Fastball. He didn’t use them much but he flashed a curveball (8 pitches) and changeup (2 pitches). Trying to refine the two latter pitches and utilizing them more would be beneficial to future success. He’s going to need to miss more bats than the five strikeouts in seven innings he had Monday night as he only had a 31.6% groundball rate while giving up an average exit velocity of 94.8 MPH.

Braves @ Pirates

Time: 7:05 PM EST

Pirates Starter: JT Brubaker (3-10, 4.19)

Braves Starter: Max Fried (11-4, 2.60)

Brubaker Notes: JT Brubaker will take the mound after arguably the best start of his career. On August 18th Brubaker threw seven scoreless innings against the Boston Red Sox. He only allowed two hits, struck out seven batters, and didn’t issue a single walk. It was the second time of Brubaker’s career he completed seven innings with the only previous occasion happening on July 13th of this year against the Miami Marlins. It’ll be his 24th start of the season — matching last year’s total — needing only 4.1 IP to surpass last season’s MLB career high of 124.1 IP.




1. Ronald Acuna Jr. (R) RF
2. Dansby Swanson (R) SS
3. Austin Riley (R) 3B
4. Matt Olson (L) 1B
5. Travis d’Arnaud (R) C
6. William Contreras (R) DH
7. Michael Harris II (L) CF
8. Vaughn Grissom (R) 2B
9. Robbie Grossman (S) LF

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Raised in Cranberry Twp, PA, Jeff attended Kent State University and worked in Cleveland and Pittsburgh, before moving to New Orleans in September of 2012. His background is as an Engineering Designer, but he has always had a near unhealthy passion for Pittsburgh sports. Hockey and Baseball are his 1A and 1B, combined with his mathematical background, it's led to Jeff's desire in diving into analytics. Jeff is known as Bucs'N'Pucks in the comments, and began writing for Pirates Prospects in 2022 after contributing so many useful bits of information in the comment section.


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Holy **** cruz was just 122.4 off the bat


I’m having a hard time with BRey. Our best player goes 2-21 the last 5 games. And shows his candy a– arm on the Sac Fly in the 5th. He just goes on too many long droughts. Imo, if he won’t take 5/$65 over the winter, he may be deadline trade bait next year. Or just pay him arb value his last 2 years of control, I’d be good with that. He’s not really an All-star caliber OFer. Just a run of the mill 3 WAR player.


Way better than he was expected to be!


Neither Harris nor Grissom have played above AA and are so young the Braves better be VERY careful or they might ruin them by bringing them up too soon. They need to follow the lead the Pirates are taking with Endy Rodriquez and others and keep promising young players like them far away from the majors until they know they’re “ready” whatever the f*** that means. A competent organization versus one wandering around in the dark. You’ll have to just guess which is which.


I know you’re being cynical, but the probabilities suggest your first sentence will be the most likely outcome.

Last edited 3 months ago by Anthony

Kinda hard to believe that Charlie Morton hasn’t pitched in PNC Park in the seven seasons since leaving the Bucs. Only time he’s faced Pirates was in Atlanta back in May. I’d buy a ticket to see him pitch here once more. Guy deserves a decent hand from Pirates fans.


Bru isn’t going 7 tonight.

Wilbur Miller

Reality bites.


Hearing Blass brings me back to the good old days. Of ‘13-15.


This has been a disappointing but I have seen enough good pitching to think we could soon have a good staff, filled mostly with younger guys. I would like a solid, veteran FA, but I like where Contreras, Keller, and Brubaker are…




A couple of thoughts on last nights game:

1. Whatever happened to the Pirates limiting Contreras’ innings? I thought that was the reason they cited for sending him down? (Insert eye roll)
2. Hat tip to Harris for hitting an oppo taco to Left-Center at PNC. I know it wasn’t a good pitch by Ro, but that’s grown man stuff by a rookie.
3. Cruz hit that HR at a 41-degree launch angle well into the seats off a good pitch. This is why he’s a Unicorn who needs to play in Pittsburgh every damn day!


If Contreras could take the Pirates to court for manipulating his Super Two status, I feel like the way they’ve handled him since his return would be strong circumstantial evidence in his favor. I’m sure the Pirates would argue he’s only able to pitch these innings now because of them sending him down. It would be a good case, and probably determined by whose peers (players or management) got to sit in the jury 😉


In AAA, Roansy pitched a total of 14 innings after his July 7 start at Cincy until his start against Boston on 8/17. 4 games in 5 weeks. He pitched 37 1/3 innings in the same time period prior to being sent down. They did in fact limit his innings for those 5+weeks. I can see them either skipping some starts or shutting him down early because he is now sitting at 97 1/3 innings so far between Pgh and AAA. He pitched only 75 innings between AA/AAA/Pgh and fall ball last year after missing all of 2020.


No doubt they need to limit his innings–I agree with that. The question is whether he needed that to have happened in AAA. Since BnP mentioned Beede, I’ll note that Beede pitched only 16 innings between July 7 and August 17. So Contreras and Beede got essentially the same workload in that time period, but the lesser talent was the one earning MLB salary and service time.

Maybe Beede is interesting enough that you create a spot for him on the MLB roster (I know he’s out of options) but I feel certain that if Super Two didn’t factor in, Contreras would have had Beede’s role in that five week period.

It’s water under the bridge now, I just hope they didn’t burn any bridges that could lead to an extension.


It absolutely needed that to happen in AAA; that’s really the only place for that to happen.


No matter what they do now will not effect an future extension. It will boil down to if the player intends upon looking for the best deal he can or does the player want to make a home in a certain city. It won’t matter if they pay the player more through pre arb or the arb process if the player is intent on hitting the market. Cole had no interest in extending with anyone. Would not consider the Astros either. They paid him well to end his arb years. He bolted for the Yanks and the money. It will be interesting what Reynolds decides. I still think that he will hit the market because of his age. He may wish to stay in Pgh and extend if the Bucs offer him a decent deal. If he wants the big bucks, this 2 year good contract will not make him want to show any loyalty back to the Bucs. I would not begrudge him either if he decided to go for the money. I would do the same if I was in his shoes too. I would expect Hayes to hit the market when his new deal ends as well because of what his age will be when it ends. Cutch did that and that is why he got traced and we got Reynolds. I never really believed that bowing to the player and paying well or not getting the full benefit of control makes any difference in the willingness of the player to extend. It is just business on both sides as it should be.


I think it’s more of a continuum between playing it out to free agency and staying with a team/city. Cole was all the way on one end of that continuum and, given the extensions that some players have signed, there seem to be players on the other end. Most will be somewhere in the middle where things like trust, winning, teammates, etc. will matter. It will be a business decision in terms of risk vs. reward, but each of us have different tolerances for risk, and think of reward differently. For some, reward doesn’t much beyond financial and for others there are factors like location, stress, etc.


What you said here is pretty much the same as what I said. Both players and management both know the business side. Players know how teams value control and most teams can’t afford to lose a year of a player’s prime if they can help it. If this were 2 years from now and (fingers crossed) the Bucs were looking at competing, Roansy would have been up,early, if not breaking camp with the team because it would then have been worth burning the year of control. Since they are not competing, why waste the year? Players also understand this. Harris II came up because he is helping them compete now. All of the other factors you mentioned will determine if Roansy extends or not and down the list will be his playing time this year especially if they communicated the team plans for him back in the spring.


I think it’s quite the opposite as they’ve been slowly building him up all year to avoid shutting him down early. It doesn’t really make sense to build him up to 100 pitches as quick as possible if you ultimately know that innings will be an issue.


It was a 366 foot pop up!

Wilbur Miller

Maybe, but I don’t expect meaningful changes. They’re not going to release Gamel or Newman, nor should they, and Dumbo can’t live without JVM. At most, maybe Bae comes up for a game or two like Cruz last year.


Dumbo got a vote of confidence from the front office. By the way….. Cruz flew his personal batting coach in to help him. I don’t think that’s a vot of confidence for our hitting coach. How do you not see Cruz, when not striking out hits very few fly balls.


Would you link the article about flying in his personal batting coach?


Bird app?

Oh wait… twitter lol

Last edited 3 months ago by AdministrativeSky236

A lot of players have their own hitting/pitching coaches across the league. Hell, Tom Brady had his own personal trainer forever. Does that mean that every strength and conditioning coach that they Pats ever had were horrible? He has been taking ton of extra batting practice per different reports that I read. He has to learn to adjust to how the opposing pitcher are pitching to him. The pitches thrown and the sequencing.


Even if not affecting the big league club, maybe some guys get pushed up the ranks in the minors for a taste of the next level


I’d be contacting contenders to see if they’d claim Gamel if he was released. Out of respect, I wouldn’t want to release him to see him go unclaimed, but if he could have the opportunity to play for a contender with the added exposure possibly leading to a bigger contract, I’d release him. It’s doubtful a contender wants him unless a team has been hit with an injury bug that I’m not aware of. But it could be a win-win-win if there is a need out there.

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