I began writing this before Tim Williams’ Wednesday article regarding “It’s Time For the Pirates to Start Opening the Window”, so it will be more of a continuation of the theme.
I think the best way to describe the state of the 40-Man roster as it currently stands is that there is still a lot of room for improvement. As Ethan Hullihen has consistently pointed out the roster is filled with plenty of casualties for when the Pirates make additions and acquisitions.
While remaining cautiously optimistic, I have to hope this is the intent in the following months leading up to Spring Training. There is currently an even 20/20 split between pitchers and position players. Both areas requiring significant upgrades.
There is no way the Pirates can functionally enter the 2023 season with the 40-man as currently constructed. Obviously they “can”, but I foresee will be quite a few moves in the coming months.
The roster as it stands is the guts of a 100-loss team, with the addition of Ji-Man Choi. As much as we want to prop up our own prospects with personal bias, the reality is that more than a handful of these rostered players should not see significant time in the majors until the point they’ve proven they deserve an extended look. The probability of Mike Burrows or Endy Rodriguez touching dirt in Pittsburgh before the summer months is minimal.
The Pirates roster has very few assurances. It’s been almost a decade since we could go down the lineup and confidently make predictions such as: “Andrew McCutchen should provide ‘X’ amount of value, while Starling Marte will provide ‘Y’ with his speed”.
Oneil Cruz, Roansy Contreras, or Jack Suwinski have upside. They flashed potential during the 2022 season, but have yet to establish themselves to a point of a Ke’Bryan Hayes or Bryan Reynolds. With Key on the hot corner you know in the least you’re going to get Gold Glove caliber defense, while you know you’re going to get above average offense from Reynolds in your lineup.
With the Pirates depth at the upper levels of the minors beginning to consolidate, it would be a strong opportunity to begin building a stable floor for excelling prospects to step on to and be able to showcase their talents.
Now would be a perfect opportunity to begin building a winning mentality and foundation within the organization. Show the players that there is an active effort and desire to push the envelope at the MLB level. That message won’t get across with the roster constructed as-is.
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.