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Monday, December 5, 2022

Pirates Prospects Daily: Internal Left-Handed Bullpen Options

The Pittsburgh Pirates have a lefty problem on their 40-man roster, both on offense and defense. When it comes to offense, they have more lefty hitters than they can count, with another added on Tuesday with Lewin Diaz.

On the pitching side of things, they don’t have a single left-handed pitcher on their 40-man roster.

With the ‘three batter’ rule, it doesn’t make the lefty specialist as big a thing out of the bullpen, but it certainly does help to have a couple of available lefties to keep batters off balance.

It’s still early in the offseason, so the Pirates have plenty of opportunities to add a left-handed pitcher. That doesn’t mean they don’t have any internal options.

If the Pirates do decide to look in their own system, there are a few options they could turn to in the upper levels, one of which made his major league debut this past season.

Cam Alldred

The 26-year-old pitched an inning out the bullpen this past season for the Pirates, throwing a scoreless frame while striking out a batter. While in Indianapolis, he pitched mostly out of the bullpen, but made a couple of turns out of the rotation as an opener. In 66.1 innings, Alldred struck out 62 and posted a 4.07 ERA.

Nick Dombkowski

Signed by the Pirates as an undrafted free agent in 2021, Dombkowski made the jump from Bradenton all the way to Altoona in just about a year and a half. He posted a 5-1 record, with a 3.07 ERA while also posting some great swing and miss numbers. Dombkowski struck out 30.7% of the batters he faced, while also generating a swinging strike rate of 13.2%. He did all of this with a walk rate of just 6.8%.

Omar Cruz

After coming over in the Joe Musgrove trade, Cruz pitched well in the rotation last year before making the shift primarily out of the bullpen in 2022. Despite not having an overpowering fastball, his curveball and changeup allowed him to post a better swinging strike rate than notable prospects Quinn Priester, Jared Jones, and Mike Burrows.

He struck out 69 in 62.2 innings with Altoona and recently finished up a stint in the Arizona Fall League.

Tyler Samaniego

The lefty out of South Alabama was named the Kent Tekulve Reliever of the Year in the Pirates system. He didn’t allow a hit all May, a stretch that went 41 total at-bats. He finished with 14 saves and an ERA of just 2.45 in 47.2 innings pitched.


Highlight of the Day

Pirates Prospects Daily

By Tim Williams

**Our Roundtable this week looked at second half surges that we’re buying heading into the 2023 season.

**Rodolfo Nolasco has homered two days in a row against Pirates pitchers in winter ball. John Dreker has the latest updates.

**Beau Sulser will play in Korea next year. Sulser spent time in the majors with the Pirates and the Orioles in 2022.

**Missed yesterday? We had a special Roundtable looking at our favorite Thanksgiving foods.

Song of the Day

Pirates Prospects Weekly

My favorite Prospect Roundtables are the ones where we all get to pick a player on the rise and a player who has struggled. Nick Gonzales ended up on the “bad” list a few times this year in those articles for his first half struggles. I’m buying his second half surge. This week’s Roundtable looks at second half surges we’re buying from the 2022 season.

Prospect Roundtable: Second Half Surges We’re Buying Heading Into 2023

Pirates Discussion

Weekly Pirates Discussion: Where the 40-Man Roster Stands After Rule 5

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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.

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Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.


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I like the Omar Cruz option cause he could be a long inning guy and the 2nd lefty out of bullpen. I would go with Tyler Samaniego for sure though.

I would also like to see Joe Jacques get a shot. I think he could be dominate against lefties out of the bullpen. I think he could be to the Pirates what Jimmy Herbert was to the Angels this past season(except from the left side).

And Joe Jacques started having a lot of multiple inning appearances after he came back from in injury in September.

Wilbur Miller

Let’s not forget the submariner, Joe Jacques. He’s deadly against LH hitters. Not good against RH hitters, so Dumbo would actually have to manage, which won’t go over well. Scheduling his appearances a month in advance wouldn’t work.

The Gunner

Love that Dumbo nickname!

b mcferren

Aroldis Chapman is the guy we want to sign


Unfortunately, it’s the Aroldis Chapman of 2015 that we want.

b mcferren

some said the same thing about Cantina this time last year


Four very good LH Prospects, but very little MLB experience. Alldred is 26, Cruz 24, Dombkowski 24, and Samaniego 24. Banuelos was decent with a .214 AA, WHIP of 1.32, 1.61 GO/AO, and an fWAR of 0.2, but the Pirates have already DFA’d him. Are Trey McGough and Zach Matson possibles also?

The Pirates definitely need a LH presence and will probably take one or more of the leftovers from other teams – after all, it is our chosen method of torturing the fanbase. I wonder if a recently retired MLB lefty reliever would be a possibility to help develop our young lefties mentioned in the first para.

The Gunner

Has Banuelos cleared waivers yet?

Wilbur Miller

Yes. He elected free agency.

Wilbur Miller

McGough had TJ. Probably out all year.


Trey McGough’s TJ was at the beginning of last season. He only had 5 starts and 17.2 innings pitched in AAA last season.

I couldn’t imagine him being out basically another full season. My guess would be he’d be back around or right after the AS break.

***edit: I just looked and his surgery was in mid-late May. The season is obviously from March to September.

So if he misses all of next season that would be around 18 months. TJ surgery timeline is 12-18 months. So you are right, it’s possible he’s out the full year and half.

Last edited 9 days ago by pittsburghbob69
Wilbur Miller

He may get back by year’s end, but no chance it’s in the majors. Sucks, because he went from being a lower level bullpen innings-eater to being a solid upper level starter in the blink of an eye. Wanted to see where he could go with it.


When they do it in the majors is when I’ll call them ‘very good’. Until then, they’re just another Eric Stout.


Is Banuelos an option to resign to an MiL deal?


I thought he had some good moments.

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