Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

Roansy Contreras’ Struggles Hurting Pirates

When the Pittsburgh Pirates shipped Jameson Taillon off to the Yankees prior to the 2021 season, they received four prospects back in the deal. Roansy Contreras was one of two pitchers in the trade. The other was Miguel Yajure who was a bit closer to the major leagues at the time. He’s since been designated for assignment and plays in the San Francisco Giants organization now.

Fast forward a few years and Contreras had a sharp rise through the Pirates’ system. He pitched fantastically in the minors to earn a promotion last season and was slated to be a full-time rotation arm in 2023. His first full season in the majors hasn’t quite gone to plan.

Contreras started the Pirates’ loss to the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday afternoon and couldn’t make it out of the first inning. Contreras allowed seven earned runs on six hits in just ⅓ of an inning. He did this damage on just 38 pitches. Quite the (un)impressive feat.

Contreras’ season-ERA has ballooned to a troublesome 5.91 across 56 ⅓ innings. He’s made 11 starts and 12 total appearances as he was briefly moved to the bullpen. An injury to Vince Velasquez opened a spot back up for Contreras to re-enter the rotation.

Roansy Contreras’ Struggles Hurting Pirates

Coming into the season, the Pirates were hoping for Mitch Keller to build off of his 2022 season. He’s broken out in a big way in 2023 and is on some people’s radar for NL Cy Young. Pittsburgh wasn’t necessarily hoping for a similar breakout by Contreras. However, expecting him to build off of a 3.79 ERA in 18 major league starts wasn’t too much to ask. It’s safe to say the league has punched back in Contreras’ second season.

In Wednesday’s outing, the first six batters reached base in some form or fashion. Contreras then recorded an out by striking out Shea Langeliers. The next batter tapped one out in front of the mound that Contreras made a play on. He picked up the ball but the throw pulled Carlos Santana from the first base bag. Contreras’ afternoon ended right there.

Contreras’ month of May saw him demoted to the bullpen. General Manager Ben Cherington made it clear the Pirates want him to be a starting pitcher in the long term but the move was best for the short term. His one relief appearance resulted in two scoreless innings and some hope that he’d found himself again.

That hasn’t been the case as he’s been tagged for 12 earned runs in his last two starts. His breaking stuff seems to be off. The fastball that sat at 96-97 MPH last season has been around 94-95 this season. Either he’s injured or the sophomore slump is hitting him hard in year two.

How should the Pirates proceed with Contreras?

Pittsburgh has two off-days within the next week. They’ll be off Thursday and will take a blow Monday as well. Then, they will have a stretch of 26 games in 27 days. They can afford to go a turn or two through the rotation without five guys. That next stretch though? Something will need to be done.

Keller, Contreras, Rich Hill, Luis Ortiz, and Johan Oviedo make up the current rotation. Velazquez is on the injured list and there is no guarantee he’ll pitch again in 2023. As the current 26-man roster is made up, there isn’t really another pitcher stretched out to start.

Pittsburgh’s top pitching prospect, Quinn Priester, has been pitching much better as of late in Triple-A. While the Pirates would prefer to keep Priester in the minors for a bit longer, Contreras’ underperformance may force the teams’ hand. Priester started for Triple-A Indianapolis on Wednesday and allowed four earned runs in five innings. His turn just so happens to line up with Contreras’.

Caleb Smith, a 31-year old veteran, is currently on the injured list at Triple-A. Osvaldo Bido has a 4.07 ERA for Triple-A Indianapolis. Another 23-year old hopeful prospect in Mike Burrows is out for the season after undergoing UCL-reconstruction surgery.

Contreras is just 23-years old so he’s very young and has plenty of time left to figure things out. Maybe allowing Contreras to reconfigure in Triple-A wouldn’t be an awful idea. For the remainder of this season and the long term, the Pirates need Roansy Contreras to find himself again.


Photo Credit- Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Players Mentioned- Jameson Taillon, Roansy Contreras, Miguel Yajure, Vince Velasquez, Mitch Keller, Shea Langeliers, Carlos Santana, Rich Hill, Luis Ortiz, Johan Oviedo, Quinn Priester, Caleb Smith, Osvaldo Bido, Mike Burrows


More Posts

Send Us A Message