A lot has to go wrong to reach 100 losses in a single season, even more so do it back-to-back, something the Pittsburgh Pirates now have done.
While looking at the entire picture of the 2022 season, there wasn’t much to like from the Pirates’ rotation. They finished with the seventh worst ERA, 19th in FIP and allowed the sixth highest opponent’s average.
Even though it wasn’t a great overall performance, if there is one thing you can take from 2022 — and something that is key with teams in the position the Pirates are in — is the progress they made towards the end of the year.
Led by Mitch Keller, the Pirates’ rotation closed out the season strong, posting a 3.76 ERA and 4.05 FIP from September on. They also held opponents to the fifth lowest batting average among starting rotations in that span (.215).
Keller was fantastic down the stretch, posting a 2.06 ERA in six starts, spanning 35 innings pitched. He struck out 31, held opponent’s to a .216 average and posted a rotation high 0.80 Wins Probability Added (WPA).
A newcomer to the organization, Johan Oviedo recorded a 54.5% ground ball rate that helped him post a 3.23 ERA and .198 opponents average. Luis Ortiz got roughed up in his last start, which wiped out his strong start in the small sample size that was his debut, but still held hitters to a .136 average.
That’s not even counting Roansy Contreras, who posted a .204 opponents average, but had a 4.33 ERA down the stretch.
Things certainly took a turn in a positive direction for the Pirates rotation, even if the bullpen and lackluster offense kept them from putting up some wins.
Now looking to build on that, the Pirates will have all of those names returning, plus top prospects Quinn Priester and Mike Burrows potentially at some point in 2023.
Adding a free agent, ideally two, would only help solidify the young rotation, add depth, and even allow some added development time to fine tune their game (Ortiz, Priester, Burrows).
Realistically, not everyone is going to build on from that strong finish, but it is encouraging that so many took that step. That’s maybe even a sign that things are going in the right direction.
Highlight of the Day
— Eric Cross (@EricCross04) November 4, 2022
Song of the Day
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Pirates Prospects Spotlight
Anthony began writing over 10 years ago, starting a personal blog to cover the 2011 MLB draft, where the Pirates selected first overall. After bouncing around many websites covering hockey, he refocused his attention to baseball, his first love when it comes to sports. He eventually found himself here at Pirates Prospects in late 2021, where he covers the team’s four full season minor league affiliates.