Pirates Prospects Daily: Rotation Signings Creating Competition For Playing Time

When the Pittsburgh Pirates signed Rich Hill to a contract, it added yet another starting pitching candidate to the mix, and in turn added some much needed depth to the position.

Now with the rotation more or less set at this point, it creates a new layer to the roster that we haven’t seen in quite some time.


The rotation was one of the strong suits down the stretch last season, and now the Pirates have added two major league veterans to the picture in Hill and Vince Velasquez. The Pirates also having two of their top pitching prospects — Mike Burrows and Quinn Priester — expected to start the season in Indianapolis.

Over the past couple of seasons it has felt that Indianapolis has been a waiting ground for a prospect to hang tight until any sort of service time issues could be worked out, with that player quickly promoted once any of that has been cleared.

This season it could prove to be more of a testing ground as opposed to a waiting room for prospects, at least the pitchers. 

While it’s ideal to get your top prospects up to the majors so they can get acclimated to the level, it’s also important not to rush them and if there is any extra development that can be done, there’s time to do it now.

The better, and deeper the rotation at the majors will give Priester, Burrows, and others, added time to fully fine tune their games so they are a more complete pitcher by the time they get called up.

Luis Ortiz may only need two pitches to succeed at the next level, but with so few rotation spots available, he may not have a choice but to further expand his game if he wants to compete as a starter.

As more prospects continue to make their way to Pittsburgh, things are going to get even tighter when it comes to roster decisions. Players will have to earn their way on the major league roster, as opposed to taking over a placeholder.

Creating that kind of expectations now, at the major league level, can help the overall culture that could also trickle down to the minor leagues.

With the entire rotation set, filled with more of a veteran presence than years prior, we will know that when there is a call up, it is based more on merit than anything else.

Highlight of the Day

Pirates Prospects Daily

By Tim Williams

**John Dreker looked at Sammy Siani and how he’s cutting down his strikeouts in Australia this offseason, in this week’s Pirates Winter Report.

**There was a big day in Australia over the weekend, with four Pirates prospects hitting home runs. John Dreker has the latest Pirates winter league updates.

**Missed yesterday? Anthony looked at Rich Hill’s unorthodox approach on the mound.

Song of the Day

Pirates Prospects Weekly

John Dreker looked at Sammy Siani in his latest Pirates Winter Report, noting how he’s cut down his strikeouts in winter ball.

Pirates Winter Report: Sammy Siani is Showing Improved Contact in Australia

Ethan Hullihen will have his latest Pirates Business update later today.

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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Why would we waste starts with Vince Velazquez? I’d rather see Oviedo, Ortiz or even Thompson in the rotation. Velazquez is a waste of a roster spot. Career 4.93 era. Sure his FIP is better but he’s had a career of being worse than his FIP.


With Ortiz, if worse comes to worse, he becomes a really good backend RP?


That was his initial projection by FanGraphs. His FB and slider seem to be better than anticipated, so who knows? Anyone got a clue about his command?


A work in progress lol


I wonder if we will see some insane stats from the Indianapolis rotation. Remember in 16’ when Glasnow, Duncan, Trevor, Kuhl, and Jamo all had ERAs around 2.00-2.50 that year?


And remember how excited we were for our future rotation?


b mcferren

I was pleased with the results of each of those guys with the exception of watching Glasnow routinely cry on the mound

Duncan in my opinion did not get a fair shake

Last edited 30 days ago by b mcferren

Duncan was a AAAA pitcher at best.


I don’t think Duncan ever got a shot with Pittsburgh or any other team in the majors did he? Quick search says he threw in aaa for the Rockies the last two years .

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