Pirates Make Two More Cuts to the Spring Roster

The Pittsburgh Pirates announced on Tuesday afternoon that they have optioned right-handed pitcher Yerry De Los Santos to Indianapolis. They have also reassigned catcher Tyler Heineman to minor league camp. We heard earlier today that catcher Jason Delay, IF/OF Ji-hwan Bae and outfielder Canaan Smith-Njigba were all making the Opening Day roster

The 25-year-old De Los Santos had a 4.91 ERA, a 1.29 WHIP and 26 strikeouts in 25.2 innings as a rookie for the 2022 Pirates. He allowed four runs over eight innings this spring, with eight hits, three walks and five strikeouts. He was vying for the final bullpen spot.

Heineman lost out the backup catching spot to Jason Delay, though he will likely see big league time at some point this year. Heineman hit .136/.208/.182 this spring in 24 plate appearances. He had a .531 OPS in 52 games for the 2022 Pirates, though his defense pushed him to 0.1 WAR for the season.

The active roster now sits at 29. Catcher Kevin Plawecki was still part of the active roster count prior to today, though he hasn’t been with the team for a week. He had an opt out clause if he wasn’t going to make the Opening Day roster.

Opening Day is Thursday. Pirates are off tomorrow.

John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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I’m with the guys around here who are not too excited by Swaggerty going down. He’ll get his shot.

We’re looking at the Altoona Curvature of the Pirates. Saw all these guys down there and have some thoughts.

I really like Castro at 2nd. I really like CSN. I think those of us who are upset now probably don’t think both CSN and Swaggs will do okay in time and be meaningful contributors. I think they will.

Mike Wazowski will improve this season in my bold prediction department. He’s got legit power and we can revisit in the fall. I’m betting he’ll get the Ks to an acceptable level for an MLB power hitter.

TOUGH luck for Brubaker.

I like Bae as well. Delay is a good player.

I guess the theme running through this team is that all have the potential to improve. I think this team will be entertaining this year and a winner next.

“You mean HIM… Against ME? We’ll have no more MUTINY K-9.”


I like TSwag but understand the thought process with his limited time in games played in the minors. I can’t see anyone of the bench players that didn’t earn it. I would have chosen TSwag over Suwinski.


Instead Bucs have 2 starting OFs who couldn’t hit the Mendoza line in ST. Great.


Why are you putting stock into spring training stats? It’s like getting worked about preseason football.


Because they matter


Spring training stats by themselves don’t mean a damn thing. Guys are experimenting with things in ST, so unless you see something you can put your finger on with a player that signals a tangible change (a new pitch, a batter lifting the ball more), the stats by themselves don’t mean a lick.

Last edited 2 months ago by ArkyWags

I’d say they do in Suwinski’s part. He has struck out over 30% everywhere he has been, MILB and MLB. ST was a chance to show that he made some progress to that end. Doesn’t look like it to me.


Maybe others do this, but as spring training wraps up, did any of you find yourself looking at particular stats (not necessarily the obvious – home runs , runs given up etc.) when the see the box scores.. In today’s box score I looked for walks for Oviedo (zero!!), K’s for Jack (1 out of 2 ABs) and the fielding update for errors from our middle infielders(zero). Don’t get me wrong, I was happy CSN hit a homerun, but these others can indicate progress (or lack of it). One game does not a trend make.


An inside source* tells me that the Pirates were not allowed to send Zastryzny to the minors unless and until they were able to spell his name properly on official league paperwork. After 17 tries each, Shelton and Cherington gave up and sent down De Los Santos instead.

*there is no source – I made this up


Lol! Should have left the last line out !!!


Zastryzny has a good agent and got that clause inserted into his deal.


In a related note, I am looking forward to seeing the AAA roster. At this point I don’t know if there is a lot of mystery, but there are some players that at one point I thought (assumed?) would start in AAA and now I am not so sure from a pure volume of players perspective. In most of these cases they were not slam dunk AAA roster members, but it seemed plausible. Ex: Peguera, Gorski, Young, Scott and Alvarez.

Also, there are about 50 relievers (maybe exaggerating a hair) who could land there but that does not excite me as much.


Last time I counted, I had 40 guys who either have AAA/majors experience or were obvious promotions after a full season at AA (e.g., Gonzales, Mlodzinski). Now, that number did assume Plawecki made the big league squad, and the Triolo, Garcia, Stephenson and Brubaker injuries thin that out a little bit. But yeah. Crowded.


So it’s down to 4 RPs for 3 spots unless Stephenson starts on the DL. Stephenson, Hernandez, Moreta, and Zastryzny.


Choosing a much lesser defensive OFer like CSN over TSwag is just insane.

VERY happy to see Bae made the team.

Heineman and/or Delay are just placeholders. Hard to believe that, per the Fangraphs article, there were 8 teams with worse catchers.

Last edited 2 months ago by leefieux
not avail

Doesn’t Heineman have an opt-out?


The opt out is if another team gives him a roster spot.


Ask John. I dunno


I think it must be a factor of targeting the high OBP and low K that CSN has historically provided in the minors. Mirrors what they looked for in the offseason


Whiffing in over a quarter of your at-bats is now “low K”???


Oop for some reason i thought i recalled 19%, i redact my statement lol


Hey in this league today you still might be right!!


If TSwag continues to hit early on like he did this Spring, he will be promoted and given an opportunity in Pittsburgh.

As for Catcher, I think the best outcome for Pirates is both Endy and Tank prove they are top 10 Catchers in MLB and one gets flipped for pitching.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

He will. But I’m still going to complain about every awful route Joe takes to a flyball, and every fly ball he or Jack “just miss” lol


I’ll be groaning in unison with you from the comfort of my couch, not if, but when those things happen.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

It also isn’t just a matter of “I want Swags”. I’m concerned with Jack. It didn’t just look like spring rust. From beginning to end he was hardly even fouling off pitches. Just straight swinging and missing. It’s one thing when a B-Rey is at least making contact, we just may have to wait for the improved balls in play. Jack was swinging and coming up empty.


If Jack starts hitting when the season starts, I’ll never trust ST stats again (like most on here, I put very little weight on them now). However, if the K problems continue, maybe we can acknowledge that in extreme cases like Jack’s K rate, ST stats can be predictive.

What worries me most about Jack is that his struggles could plausibly be blamed on skipping the normal developmental process. He was a great story but there wasn’t anything in his minor league record that suggested he was the type of player you could jump from AA to MLB and expect sustained success.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

I think they can be used, with heavy context. Such as Key obviously did some lifting and swing tweaking, and we saw that through his stats. Same could be said for CSN, in terms of swing tweaks leading to more loft.

Why I like Swags stats, is cause of moreso the fact they were indicative of what I’ve been saying that hasn’t necessarily translated into box scores, and the fact we lack Triple-A batted ball data.

With pitchers, you want to see things like where their pitches are at, that they were openly working on. It’s more helpful now that Savant numbers are available for most ST games. Like this was Oviedo’s most promising start, but overall he had spent off-season moving to a sinker that so far has been near identical in terms of velo and movement to his FF. And it has largely been just as ineffective.

When it comes to Jack, he worked a whole new swing. And the thing is his path to positive production is a very limited window. One of those was being a positive defender in the corners, and it would appear they’re taking that away. If you take out his first, I believe, 65 games in MLB, it paints an ugly picture. Especially when you include his Triple-A time. He’s HR contingent, but he’s a platoon bat, that’s only been good at PNC. Which, a bad spring, away from PNC, doesn’t help his case. It could just be he’s still getting his timing, but I think there’s huge whiff issues that are going to get attacked.

Last edited 2 months ago by Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

I’m stunned by both catcher and 1B myself. I feel much better about what we’ll get out of 2B when compared to league average than C and 1B and yet they rated us much lower at 2B. I say that without looking at other teams though.


These moves make no sense. They’re unforced errors.


I disagree. Not that it matters much, since we all know there will be tons of roster churn this season.


Bae isn’t an unforced error.


I am still in a funk about Swaggs not making the starting in CF. However, the rest of the roster decisions have been fair. Bae has really picked up his bat of late and has the makings of a wonderful super sub. Jason Delay showed something last year. You can’t have surprise players emerge if you don’t roster younger players. Jacob Stallings was Jason delay a few years ago. All that said man does this lineup suck without Swaggerty leading off and Joe on the bench.

Last edited 2 months ago by Born4rf

Swaggerty will probably get a chance before too long.

If Suwinski’s swing is all messed up and he’s hitting .150 and striking out half the time, then they’ll pull the plug before too long (probably within a month). If not, then Reynolds will probably get traded by July which will open a spot.


I think Bae’s skill set would be more ideal as a leadoff hitter.


I don’t think Swaggerty was ever gonna hit leadoff.


This lineup won’t be confused with the Padres lineup, but to say it sucks without Swaggerty leading off is definitely over the top.


Absolutely right, it would also suck with Swaggerty leading off.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

*for the other team

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