Pirates Prospects Daily: Pitching Continues To Be Strength Of the System

It’s hard to say a lot went right over the course of a 100-loss Pirates season last year. Down the stretch, the rotation really showed some promise, and was one of the strongest parts of the team.

This past week we’ve seen the offense really explode, scoring 52 runs over the past eight games — and that’s including a game they were shutout in.

Still, even with the offense, the pitching staff continues to put them in a great position to win. With Roansy Contreras picking up another quality start, that gives the Pirates’ rotation 10 straight.

The even more impressive part of it has been factoring the rough start to the season that both Rich Hill and Vince Velasquez had, with both chipping in a couple of very strong outings the last two times through the rotation.

There has been a big focus on throwing breaking, and secondary pitches, especially if the numbers favor them over the fastball. I wrote about Johan Oviedo, and his success since increasing his curveball usage. He’s not the only one adapting that philosophy.

Contreras hasn’t had much success when it comes to generating swings and misses with the fastball this season, but the slider remains an elite pitch. Thursday against the Reds, he didn’t get any whiffs on 17 swings against his fastball, but got 14 on 24 against the slider.

He threw 50 sliders compared to 37 fastballs, and pitched 6.2 innings while striking out eight.

It looks like they’ve found a recipe for success when it comes to their rotation, and the results only further prove it.


— Roansy wasn’t the only young starting pitcher on display in the system on Thursday. Bubba ChandlerJared JonesAlessandro Ercolani all started for their respective affiliate and all came away with strong outings.

Ercolani had a rough debut last week, but bounced back to pitch four one-hit innings, striking out four. The control is still something that will have to be improved upon, as he has seven walks in 6.2 innings to begin the season.

The numbers doesn’t exactly paint the whole story for Chander so far this year, but he did complete five innings for the for just the second time in his professional career, striking out six batters. 

For Jones, the stuff has always been there, it’s just a matter of harnessing it. He completed five full innings for the first time this season, and while he allowed seven hits, he also didn’t walk a single batter.

Check out the rest of the daily minor league results in the Prospect Watch:

Prospect Watch: Solid Outings from Jared Jones and Bubba Chandler, Five RBIs from Jase Bowen


One of five strikeouts for Jones on the night, this one to get the game started.

Endy picked up another home run on the night, but would later have to leave the game after apparently hurting himself throwing to second base.

Another insane play by Ke’Bryan Hayes, who somehow gets this throw off to get a double play.


By Tim Williams

My column tonight was fun to write. It may have been a bit artistically inspired by 4/20, but it’s all about being your own singularity.

Williams: Baked Alaska

Pirates Recap: An Eighth of the Way Through the Season, the Pirates Look Like That Za

Prospect Watch: Solid Outings from Jared Jones and Bubba Chandler, Five RBIs from Jase Bowen

**On the MLB draft front, it’s Jacob Gonzalez vs Paul Skenes on the Friday night schedule.

**The Pirates inducted Kent Tekulve, Bob Friend, Dick Groat and Elroy Face to their Hall of Fame.

**On the minor league side, Caleb Smith rejoined Indianapolis and made the start for them tonight.

**Yesterday, I highlighted three signs that show the Pirates might be a good team. Anthony looked at J.C. Flowers and the impact he’s making out of the Indianapolis bullpen.


Go read the column, then listen to the song.

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.

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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Any update on Endy’s injury?


Or Burrows for that matter, its been like 2 weeks now


Hayes makes an excellent play in the 7th to start a DP, and then makes a very good play in the 8th to keep a runner at third while recording an out. Anyone questioning (his) fWAR value is just plain wrong.

My favorite part of that DP is Hayes throws with the wrong foot forward, almost straight out in front of him, while half squating, maybe the first time in his life he makes that throw, and it is a perfect toss to second, then Bae makes a throw from second to first, all the mechanics are in place, a throw he has made a thousand plus times, and he throws it in the dirt and about 5 feet wide of first. Have to love the contrast.


I don’t think the issue is that Kebryan’s defensive value isn’t earned.

It’s that the current version of Kebryan isn’t likely much better than Jared Triolo, and that’s an absolutely massive failure to maximize talent.

This is like being satisfied with sinkerballing Gerrit Cole. Was that a valuable pitcher? Sure!

But it was about half as valuable as he could’ve been, and that in a nutshell is what got the last front office shitcanned.


For the record, what I remember of the front office falling way out of favor was 1) the Chris Archer trade debacle, 2) the 2019 second half implosion right after the all-star break, which followed the 2018 second half implosion right after the all-star break, 3) Vasquez getting arrested on underage sexual assault charges which was also a reminder of Kang’s sexual assault charge and DWI charge in Korea. And also a reminder of the Vasquez-Crick dust-up during 2019.

After the 2019 season it was obvious the club was failing on a number of levels and therefore the front office absolutely had to be replaced.


Yeah, I hear you, but Nutting explicitly laid blame to poor development as both his cause for firing Huntington & Co and justification for hiring Cherington.


Autotune should be banned in music like steroids are in baseball.

b mcferren

all technology should banned from baseball


Jared Jones had an efficient 5 innings at AA, but received some solid relief work from Travis MacGregor 2.2 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 1 BB, 4 K, 2.16 ERA; and one of my personal favorites Noe Toribio got the save 1.1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 BB, 2.35 ERA.

Could not remember if MacG lost a few years with TJ so I went back to my trusty 10th Anniversary Edition of the Prospect Guide, and sure enough, he lost 2019 and 2020 after TJ surgery. Interesting to note some of the guys who were in the last 20 prospects such as Endy Rodriguez #30 , Travis MacGregor #32 , Jase Bowen #37 , Matt Gorski #39 , CSN #40 , Osvaldo Bido #41 , Aaron Shortridge #44 , JC Flowers #48 , and Noe Toribio # 49.

Really nice to have such an informative document sitting right on the corner of my desk – Thank You Tim, John, and Wilbur


I like Maggie Rogers, nice voice and “light On” is a definite guilty pleasure for me, but I usually keep that to myself🤷‍♂️🤣… i saw the Red Sox climbed up to .500, so no longer can state they are one of the teams with a losing record we built our record on(atleast for today), they would have a fine 10-7 record if they didnt get taken behind the ‘woodshed’ by the rising 2023 Buccos🤷‍♂️😀

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