Pirates Prospects Daily: Split Squad Games Show Potential Bullpen Depth

Although maybe not ideal because they are harder to keep track of, but split squad games are a good chance to get as many people into game situations as possible. 

Playing two games on Thursday, the Pirates were going to have to not only dig deep into their bench (and reserves from minor league camp) but also into their bullpen to cover the 18 innings worth of pitching.

The Pirates made sure they improved on the pitching depth, adding in the Rule 5, free agency and by trade to try and get more bodies in position to help throughout the season.

The split squad games was a good opportunity to get a look at quite a few of the players that are vying for a bullpen role. 

Eight relief pitchers that have some sort of shot to make the big league bullpen out of camp pitched between the two games, and combined for eight innings of two run ball, allowing just six this and one walk while striking out seven.

That isn’t including their big offseason free agent signing (Jarlin Garcia), three returning members (Chase De Jong, Robert Stephenson, and Duane Underwood Jr.) or their closer, David Bednar.

Versus The Yankees

Wil Crowe and Angel Perdomo each pitched a clean inning, with the former picking up a strike out. Perdomo pumped out all fastballs in his outing, staying within 93-94 mph.

Colin Holderman (pictured above yesterday by WTM) has quite the array of pitches for a reliever. He came out throwing gas against the Yankees, getting up to 99.9 mph on his fastball. He didn’t get much work after coming over in the Daniel Vogelbach trade before getting hurt, but could fall into a late-inning role at some point this season.

Picked up in the Rule 5, Jose Hernandez continues to show his fastball that has reached triple digits before, and sat 96-98 on Thursday. The biggest difference is the added emphasis on the slider, throwing it eight of them out of 18 total pitches.

Versus The Blue Jays

They didn’t go through as many relief pitchers against the Blue Jays, with Colin Selby coming in after starter Roansy Contreras. The first pitch Selby threw was hit for a double off the wall, with that runner eventually scoring. He might not factor in immediately, but could be by the end of the season.

Yohan Ramirez put up some very interesting pitch metrics last year, especially with his sinker, although he got beat up in his first spring outing. He bounced back and struck out two in his inning of work.

Finally, Dauri Moreta was acquired in the Kevin Newman trade from the Cincinnati Reds in the offseason. He also picked up a pair of strikeouts in his innings of work, his first appearance of the spring.

Even Tyler Samaniego, arguably the best left-handed relief prospect in the system, pitched an inning in relief — a wacky outing where he came in for Mitch Keller to finish the second, before coming back in to replace him again in the third.

One of the biggest keys to the Pirates season is not putting them in a position to have to overuse Bednar like they did in 2022. They showed that they should have plenty of arms to go around, even if the injury bug were to strike a bit.

Pirates Prospects Daily

By Tim Williams

Spring Training Recaps: Yankees 9, Pirates 1; Pirates 2, Blue Jays 2

Pirates DVR: Travis Swaggerty Throw And Home Run, Oneil Cruz, Fastest Strikeout Record?

**Missed yesterday? Anthony wrote about Travis Swaggerty making a run for a roster spot.

Song of the Day


The Pirates are on the right tonight for a 6:05 PM game against the Baltimore Orioles

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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Cal has become a ground ball hitting machine. Not good.

b mcferren

Castro at shortstop

Sign that Bae goes north on the opening day team

b mcferren

lets go bucs!


I noticed Sabol hit his 3rd double today to go along with 2 HRs. He has more extra base hits than he has outs this spring.


Has there been any sign of Connor Joe working out at 3B?

I say that because I doubt they’ll go into the year with just one backup for 2B/3B/SS (and just four guys total for those three spots). If Joe was viewed as even a marginal potential reserve at 3B, then it might mean one more guy who can swing the bat a little can make the team.

I’m guessing the answer is no and that Joe is strictly an OF/1B. Too bad Andujar has already been tagged as a no go for 3B (although there’s probably a good reason for that).


On a related note, Mackey quoted Shelton as suggesting they might consider playing Joe in LF but shifting him to short RF against lefty batters because of his IF experience (there’s no rules against shifting the OFs). Interesting concept.

b mcferren

his fate was sealed the moment we signed right handed cutch


No TV tonite for VV on the mound. Wilbur’s making the trip though…….


Thankfully, Wilbur will only have to watch VV for a couple of innings. 🤣🤣🤣


Way to find that one silver lining from yesterday’s games, AM. 😂😂😂


Honestly, it’s refreshing. AM brings a positive outlook and I love his writing style. Reminds me a bit of Charlie M.


I, too, love AM. Don’t make it look like I am slamming him, because I am not. I guess ‘messing with him’ isn’t allowed? We kid because we care.


Certainly not my intent.


I didn’t read you that way, and I agree AM was a good addition. I picture him as that upbeat kid that Wilbur keeps kicking off his lawn.


AM has a good sense of humor (we ‘repartee’ back and forth on Twitter). I have noted my admiration of his work on here MANY times, so I was somewhat taken aback by Catch’s comment,

But, all is well in Fooland now. 😇😇😇


A nice thing about all these bullpen guys is that so many of them have options….Indy is going to be STACKED with a MLB-quality BP this year. Guys like Underwood and De Jong are going to have to earn their keep, or they will find themselves DFA’d or traded to bring up a worthy replacement. HUGE depth!

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