As noted in Thursday’s discussion the Pittsburgh Pirates have seen a rather clean bill of health when it comes to their starters this season.
The question will become whether they will seek to limit any of their pitcher’s innings as the rest of the season unfolds. It’s open knowledge that the Pirates are specifically limiting Roansy Contreras this season, after only throwing 61 total innings between MLB and MiLB in 2021.
So while the MLB pitching staff has largely remained intact, there aren’t many starters with a recent track record of logging innings. Here are the current inning totals for the current presumed starting five:
- JT Brubaker – 113.1 IP
- Mitch Keller – 112.1 IP
- Bryse Wilson – 102.1 IP (66 IP in MLB and 36.1 IP in Triple-A)
- Zach Thompson – 90.1 IP
- Tyler Beede – 45.1 IP
Of these five pitchers only Keller, Brubaker, and Wilson eclipsed 100 IP in 2021 while none of those three threw more than 130 IP last year. Thompson threw 90 IP last year and Beede only threw 49.2 IP. The innings aren’t foreign for these pitchers, as all but Thompson have thrown 140-150 innings as recent as 2019. You’d have to go back to 2016 for the last time Thompson cracked 100, throwing a total of 140.2 innings between two levels.
With roughly 50 games to go, that would average out to ten more starts per starter, which could lead to all but Beede reaching career highs of innings pitched in an entire season. JT Brubaker was having a solid season in 2021, but seemed to run out of steam as the season progressed. He had a 3.82 ERA at the end of June in 2021 but a 7.91 ERA in his final 10 starts after the calendar flipped to July.
So the first question would be do you think the Pirates begin limiting more than just prospects to “maintain health” going into the off-season?
I think this fits well with our recent discussion’s in the comments about if limiting pitchers is truly beneficial. If you believe they should or might seek to, the bigger question would be if the Pirates have the depth available.
When you look at the Indianapolis Indians roster you’ll see the obvious answer in Roansy Contreras but he’s already being limited. There is Miguel Yajure — who has battled injury woes — but he hasn’t been very effective in Indy when healthy. Cody Bolton has been on a rather strict innings limit since mid-June. The Indians innings leader is Jerad Eickhoff, but I think we all remember how that went last time. Next in line would be Osvaldo Bido, but has begun to be limited as his effectiveness generally plummets as a game goes on. The bigger ticket name that needs added to the 40 man roster and has 82.1 IP across two levels is Mike Burrows. He very well could get a start or two, much like when the Pirates gave Roansy an abbreviated start in 2021.
One starter that I think may have a shot at pulling a start by season’s end is Luis Ortiz. He himself is Rule 5 eligible this off-season and is currently second only to Jared Jones in total innings pitched in the minors. He’s a big kid with big stuff and given the lack of depth ahead of him I wouldn’t be surprised if the Pirates gave him a go at some point.
Pirates @ Giants
Time: 9:05 PM EST
Pirates Starter: Tyler Beede (1-1, 3.57)
Giants Starter: Logan Webb (10-5, 3.17)
Beede Notes: Since coming to the Pirates, Tyler Beede is carrying a 3.28 ERA through 19 appearances. This will be his third start as it appears for the time being they are looking to give Beede a chance to build up into a spot in the rotation. His last time out he threw 3.2 scoreless innings on 57 pitches. He’ll get to face the only organization he’s known prior to the Pirates as the San Francisco Giants drafted him in 2014 with their #14 overall pick in the first round.
— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) August 13, 2022
1. LaMonte Wade Jr. (L) DH
2. Joc Pederson (L) LF
3. J.D. Davis (R) 3B
4. Mike Yastrzemski (L) CF
5. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
6. Thairo Estrada (R) 2B
7. Tommy La Stella (L) 1B
8. Luis Gonzalez (L) RF
9. Austin Wynns (R) C