Envision for a moment that Ben Cherington uses this off-season to assemble a competent MLB club. There are different scenarios of how each of us believe that roster could look like, but overall we’ll imagine it’s a roster worth watching.
This is similar to one of the first Discussion articles I wrote, and Monday’s discussion got me thinking about it again. What will the Indianapolis Indians roster look like to begin the 2023 season?
The Pittsburgh Pirates have had a varying degree of success from the ensemble of rookies that have seen playing time in 2022. What I’m interested in seeing is how the Triple-A roster is filled out with the current year’s version of Kevin Padlo, Drew Maggi, or Josh VanMeter. Who will be the Jared Eickhoff, Bryse Wilson, or the carousel of relievers?
When you hear those names, you think of once prospects that saw success in the minors, yet have struggled to find a role in the MLB. They’ve also been the first called upon players once a spot opens up on the 26 man roster whether by injuries or struggles.
The Pirates roster now has a collection of rookies and prospects that would appear to be finding themselves sliding into those roles. Your Diego Castillo, Jack Suwinski, Cal Mitchell, Tucupita Marcano, and even Rodolfo Castro. You have pitchers in Johan Oviedo or Luis Ortiz who could use a little more refining.
These are all players that now have big league experience under their belt. Cal Mitchell was one of the best hitters in the International League, and would be top five in OPS if he was still qualified, but may just not be exactly ready NOW. That isn’t to say they couldn’t still blossom into everyday players, but they aren’t there right now at this moment. Castro seems to be finding his footing a little more and may work himself into the conversation in spring.
The next man up mentality is going to require players seeing success in the majors and sustaining success if the Pirates are to be competitive and REMAIN competitive. It could also make the Triple-A roster very intriguing to watch throughout the entire season with prospects we still have a little emotional bias towards.
Pirates @ Yankees
Time: 7:05 PM EST
Pirates Starter: TBD
Yankees Starter: Nestor Cortes (10-4, 2.70)
— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) September 20, 2022
1. Aaron Judge (R) RF
2. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
3. Gleyber Torres (R) 2B
4. Josh Donaldson (R) 3B
5. Giancarlo Stanton (R) DH
6. Oswaldo Cabrera (S) LF
7. Harrison Bader (R) CF
8. Isiah Kiner-Falefa (R) SS
9. Jose Trevino (R) C