Pittsburgh Pirates’ Future is Pitching

Pittsburgh Pirates Future

The Pittsburgh Pirates‘ future is pitching. If this team wants to turn it around, and be a .500 or better team, they’re going to count on their pitching to make it happen. Many of the pitchers we saw in the second half of this season, both starters and relievers, will be relied upon heavily for their 2023 season.


Last 30 Games

The Pittsburgh Pirates’ future is pitching, and the good news is that their starters posted a respectable 3.60 ERA in their final 30 starts of the 2022 season. Something that had hindered this pitching staff was the home run ball. However, they allowed only 15 home runs while holding opposing batters to a .215 batting average over those 30 games.

This provided some optimism regarding the starting pitching. After an up-and-down season, the starting rotation of finished the 2022 season on a high note. They were able to find some positives down the stretch. This should provide a source of some enthusiasm entering the offseason and into spring training 2023.

A couple of starters, Roansy Contreras and Johan Oviedo both pitched well and will be counted on as full-time staters for 2023. Contreras was 2–1 with 3.66 ERA and had 25 strikeouts in his last seven games. After his trade to the Pirates, Johan Oviedo was 2–2 with 28 strikeouts in seven games. Both showcased their improved fastballs and sliders and will enter spring training 2023 as potential back-end starters.



The Pirates also found a couple of surprise relievers in Yohan Ramirez and Robert Stephenson. Ramirez was 3–1 in his last 15 games, with 15 strikeouts in 18 innings and posting a 2.52 ERA. He was especially effective with a fastball that reached the 97-98 MPH range along with a hard slider and changeup that led to many ground ball outs.

Robert Stephenson, a former first-round pick, was added on August 27 when the Pirates took him off waiver list. He pitched 13 1/3 innings in 13 appearances with them and posted a 3.38 ERA. Stephenson has an effective slider, and mixes in a four-seamed fastball. He most likely will have a spot in the Pirates’ bullpen locked up for 2023. If both can pick up where they left off at in 2022, the 2023 season could be a breakout campaign for each as well as for the Pirates.


Pitching Depth

The Pittsburgh Pirates future is pitching, and this entire organization has put a major focus on pitching depth and development for their long-term future. It is their biggest strength and something they need to build around sooner rather than later. The number of young pitchers within the system is notable and exciting. They should they build around these young pitchers because, as we know, good pitching will help even mediocre teams gain confidence in winning.


Emphasis for Spring Training

The emphasis for Manager Derek Shelton and Pitching Coach Oscar Marin in Spring Training 2023 is to work on the durability and confidence in the starting rotation. They only averaged around five innings per start in 2022, which burdened the relievers. The starters must improve their stamina to consistently work at least six innings, or more. This will help the relievers in the long run, allowing the manger to choose the best pitcher to bring in based on the situation rather than on who has the freshest—least used—arm over the past few games.


Long Term

The long-term health of the Pirates’ pitching is excellent. They have been trending in the right direction with the development of their arms. They currently have many pitchers under contract well beyond next season. As mentioned, good to great pitching can give confidence to teams, especially as they win. If they can build on their late-season performance and continue developing and improving, the Pirates can build around them. With the staff they have, the future is looking bright for this organization. Now they just need to go out and perform.

Main Photo:
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Players/Managers Mentioned:

Roansy Contreras, Johan Oviedo, Yohan Ramirez, Robert Stephenson, Derek Shelton