P2Daily: Starters in the Aggregate

In the last week, the Pittsburgh Pirates have used Max Kranick, Cam Alldred, and Beau Sulser in relief.

All three pitchers have mostly worked out of Indianapolis this year. At the moment, Kranick and Alldred are back in Indianapolis, while Sulser was lost on waivers to Baltimore. The latter move was a result of the team adding former first-round pitcher Tyler Beede, so the team didn’t lose any pitching depth, but did add one more arm to the mix.

By the end of this month, I have a feeling that Roansy Contreras will be back in the majors as a starter. Contreras pitched into the fifth inning for the first time this year on Friday night, as he continues to get stretched out.

Even with Contreras as a starter, the Pirates will still have a need for their bullpen strategy. They’re still likely to churn through pitchers out of Indianapolis.

Fortunately, Indianapolis has several candidates to fill the long-relief role. Contreras is the easiest pick of the group to remain a starter, and there are 2-3 other players on the roster who could have a shot at starting. Outside of Contreras, most of the Indianapolis pitching staff will need to make their way to the majors through the bullpen.

I wrote about some of the pitchers who can help in long-relief in this week’s article drop. That list didn’t include guys like Yerry De Los Santos, Austin Brice, Cristofer Melendez, and others who pitch more of the traditional one inning outings.

None of the potential relievers in Indianapolis are as exciting as Contreras, who is the top pitching prospect in the system. That doesn’t mean they can’t be effective MLB players, as the Pirates have shown this year. The bullpen so far has shown success from Wil Crowe, Dillon Peters, and Anthony Banda, to name a few. I don’t think many people were expecting a lot out of those three, and so far they’ve combined for almost 40 innings of sub-3.00 ERA baseball.

The advanced metrics suggest this won’t continue. Crowe and Peters have high walk rates and low BABIP. Neither has been impacted by home runs, which could be the difference between both remaining effective relievers, and both ending up the equivalent of 4th/5th starters.

It’s exciting when three relievers are combining to create a number one starter in the aggregate. It’s less exciting when three relievers just give you what you’d expect from one of them as a starter.

The Pirates don’t have a lot of exciting prospect names in the Indianapolis pitching staff. What they have are a lot of candidates to emerge as another Crowe or Peters, and perhaps the ability to piece together another batch of top of the rotation innings.

Of course, this all assumes the Pirates will maintain the same frequency of long-relief work. That won’t be needed if more starters go six innings like Zach Thompson last night. Until the Pirates get that consistently from their starters, the long-relief work should be used to get that type of production in the aggregate.

Pirates Prospects Spotlight

Indianapolis Pitchers Who Could Help the Pirates in Long Relief This Year

Pirates Links

Prospect Watch: System Goes 0-for-5

Daily Video Rundown: Travis MacGregor, Cal Mitchell, Aaron Shackelford

Pirates Discussion: Pirates 3, Reds 1

P2Daily Articles:


Strikeouts Are Becoming a Theme For Indianapolis Hitters

Oneil Cruz can play shortstop today, but later is a question

Oneil Cruz: Adjustments At Plate Led To Positive Results Against Louisville

Roansy Contreras’ windup change has shown results

Williams: What is a Shortstop?

Prospect Roundtable: Which Indianapolis Player Are You Looking Forward to in Pittsburgh?

Indianapolis Pitchers Who Could Help the Pirates in Long Relief This Year

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Even for me, the glass half full guy, im abit frustrated where we are with our pitching staff, leaving out hitting on this thread. Glad that Thompson is rising, important, hoping for a good 4th starter with him🙏, Brubaker is battling and think he will be a fine back end guy and Keller “is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma,” and maybe that is what he ends up being, hope with big ‘?’ marks as we wait for something special that may or probably will never come, who the heck knows….. After 2 1/4 years i thought we would have more options as we peek to 2023 ard the mlb/AAA, Q isnt part of this talk, and I dont see them… Yeah the system, for most teams, hold promise, but nothing earth shattering down there, Roasny will be fine, it seems, Yajure will not imho, the rest are hope, no different then the other teams. Maybe i just ran out of my Pete Carroll optimism tonic, will check the cabinet🤷‍♂️🤣


BC offering a pretty candid assessment of his role in signing Uehara and flailing on Melancon and Hanrahan on FanGraphs.


To follow up on your quote, at least Keller has not invaded any neighboring countries or killed any competitors.


Is Crowe still pitching long relief? It seems that he has transitioned to 7th inning guy


And is Peters still pitching long relief? Seems he’s transitioned into an Opener.

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