Pirates Prospects Daily: Roster Cuts Give More Clarity To Potential Opening Day Roster

The Pittsburgh Pirates made another round of roster cuts on Tuesday, and are now down to 40 players in their Major League training camp.

With more players on their way to minor league camp, it starts to paint a picture as to what the Opening Day roster might look at, at the very least when it comes to the pitching staff.

The rotation was more or less decided going into camp, especially after the free agent signings of Vince Velasquez and Rich Hill. So Luis Ortiz getting optioned to Triple-A wasn’t really a surprise, as the rotation was mostly set.

That just leaves a decision on how they plan on using Johan Oviedo this upcoming season. If they like him as a starter, Triple-A would be the best option, but they could use him as long relief/spot starter in the majors if they wanted to get him straight up and playing for the Pirates.

When it comes to the bullpen, the path to Angel Perdomo potentially becoming a second lefty reliever took a little clearer with another southpaw getting sent to minor league camp, Daniel Zamora.

That leaves just Jose Hernandez, Perdomo, and Rob Zastryzny as the only left-handed relievers in Major League camp still.

Yohan Ramirez was also optioned, leaving about 11 pitchers remaining for eight bullpen spots – and that’s also depending what they want to do with Oviedo.

Now here are the players that are fighting for a potential bullpen spot:

Dauri Moreta

Colin Holderman

Chase De Jong

Duane Underwood Jr

Yerry De Los Santos

Wil Crowe

Tyler Chatwood – NRI

David Bednar

Plus Hernandez, Perdomo, and Zastryzny as the left-handed options.

More Prospects Assigned

Two of the more impressive players in camp up to this point remain prospects, Cody Bolton and Carmen Mlodzinski. The Pirates announced that Bolton would shift to the bullpen full-time, and while we haven’t gotten confirmation on Mlodzinski’s role, his usage in spring may suggest the same.

Chavez Young was one of the standouts in the World Baseball Classic for Great Britain, but with so many other outfielders on the 40-man roster, it would have taken a lot for him to make the roster anyways.

The numbers didn’t stand out with the Pirates, but was an exciting player to watch nonetheless, and may have put himself in a position to be an eventual call-up at some point during the season. 

Pirates Prospects Daily

By John Dreker

Pirates are off today. Their only other day off this spring is the day before Opening Day, which is now eight days away.

Pirates won 4-3 over the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday. Andrew McCutchen’s homer was the big highlight. Here’s the boxscore.

**Pirates Trim Eight Players from Spring Training Roster

**Pirates Hitting Prospects Who Could Take A Big Step Forward In 2023

**Pirates Pitching Prospects Who Could Take A Big Step Forward In 2023

**Pirates DVR: Miguel Andujar Home Run, Travis Swaggerty RBI, Luis Ortiz Strikeout

**Pirates Prospects Daily: Nick Gonzales’ Strong Spring is a Good Sign

Song of the Day

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.

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I get depth is important but it doesn’t have to be at the mlb level. Mathias and Joe and Heineke etc can be at Indy.
First crack in the show should be Bae, smith-njigba, Swaggerty, and Endy SHOULD be starting and I’d be ok with Nick Gonzalez over Bae starting and Bae as the utility.
Unfortunately Cherington and Shelty just can’t see the forest…yknow it’s frustrating.
As far as the staff Holderman should be set up man, Velasquez the long reliever, and personally I’d like Luis Ortiz in the pen lighting up the gun focused on throwing strikes.
Ill just have to wait until August when we have seen all those bums hitting under .150 playing daily finally get released.


The ‘old baseball’ player in me wishes there was a way for Maggi to get 2 weeks in the majors and get a few at bats. He gets sent to AAA to start the year and then a minor injury for 2 weeks makes him a good candidate as a place holder who can be added to the 40 man (somehow) and then dropped.

This was somewhat off topic but I thought of it as different roster scenario’s were being discussed.


The Pirates are changing lanes and have been for the past 3 years – no surprise that our Rookies and placeholders are low in the ratings. That’s what rebuilding is all about – Suwinski, Cruz, Castro, Bae, Swaggs, Mitchell, CSN, etc. have yet to reach a full year of MLB Service.

And, Blake Sabol has hit the wall with SF with a streak of about 1-12 and 6 K’s in the last 5 games played in ST. BC’s phone may be ringing. I hope Sabol gets to stick in SF because he will have a much better chance of breaking into MLB at Catcher with SF. They have talent at just about every other position, but Joey Bart has struggled at C. The Pirates are loaded + at C, ergo, his Rule 5 availability.


Until today when Sabol went 2 for 3 with a walk. His OBP for the spring is .500, and 1.194 OPS.


D’accord. I just needed a moment to absorb “the Pirates are loaded at C.”


Was looking at MLB.com and it had projected starting lineups and rotation for each team. This is a direct quote that I copied and pasted from the write up.
With the signings of Hill and Velasquez, the Pirates have a very solid five-man rotation heading into the season.”


Has anyone been tracking the positional values series this week over at FG. They’re all the way through the infield and behind the plate so far.

Bucs rank 21st at C, 20th at 1B, 28th at second, 13th at 3B, and 11th at SS. I’d guess the OF rankings will be rough (Reynolds aside), but some of those are better than I thought. It’s spring, let’s be hopeful.


Is this for only players in majors (40 man) or in the entire system?


Based on projected playing time with the Pirates. So, for example, at SS we’re projected to get 3.1 WAR from Cruz, 0.4 WAR from Bae, 0.1 WAR from Castro, and negligible contributions from Peguero and Owings.

At 2B, Bae and Castro are projected to get about an equal share of PAs (259-287) with Mathias only getting 42 PAs. I suspect that Mathias is going to get a lot bigger share of the PAs at 2B.


TN – do we really need re-runs with veterans past 25 who we have to find PT for? Keep Mathias in the OF and away from 2B.

Here’s my reasoning – depending upon what happens in 2023 with Castro and Bae at 2B/Util, we may be trying to trade either of them or Marcano or Gonzales or Triolo or Peguero. That’s more than enough balls in the air.


I want to see 2B go to one of the young players, but I expect them to give a lot of PAs to Mathias. He’s part of Cherington’s search for the Holy Grail Turner.


Thanks. Surprised they were not worse off at C. Unless they factor in Endy playing some.


They have Endy getting 230 PAs and putting up 1.4 WAR along with Hedges’ 294 PAs and 1.1 WAR (they love Hedges’ defense). Plawecki and Heinemann combine for 115 PAs and 0.4 WAR.


Nice. My fantasy baseball draft is this weekend so I may take Endy late and await his arrival. Thanks for the response.


Really put into picture how surprisingly stacked the league is at catcher all the sudden.


Yeah there’s lots of…hubbub in the comment section about the WAR values. Some commenters seem to think they’re out of whack.


Interesting, I was just looking at names.

My brain only has room for one internet comment section. 😉


Chatwood needs to be cut, Villade DFA’d. Those are the no brainers to me. Moreta should make the team.

Interested specifically in what they do with Bae & Oviedo, as both looked great in their time with the big club last year. Interested to see how much weight they give that vs ST results.

b mcferren

I hope Chatwood and Maggi go to Altoona

I like the idea of veteran player coaches in the minor leagues


Just checked ages. According to Wiki both are 33. Wonder if they would hang up the cleats if sent down to AA. Never been to Altoona. Maybe the lure of the city could persuade them.


I go to a handful of Curve games every year. They are celebrating their 25th season this year and due to my tracking of random things I know Maggi is close to a franchise record. He has 60 steals with them and the franchise record is Duffy with 65. Would be kind of cool to see a franchise record set in a season they are celebrating their history.


Nice. Would be cool to see Maggi finally get a few plate appearances in the MLB. Storyline I will try and follow if he ends up there.


Moreta has intrigued me, and has looked good when I have seen him pitch. He really was not bad last year for Cincy. When away from Great American Park, and the home runs there, he pitched pretty good. Do not know why they have Chatwood still around. He has been terrible this spring. Would like to see Zastryzny stick because he is a lefty, but if they plan to keep Owings, it might be hard to open 3 40-man spots. One could be Garcia going on the 60 day IL, but they would still need 2 more. They might DFA someone like Ramirez, but to open a 3rd, they would have to be possibly willing to DFA Vilade or Mathias. Not sure they would do that.


What about Stephenson? Any chance he heads north or does he start on the IL since he saw his first game action yesterday? I think this is a key inflection point because if they go with the extra lefty, Stephenson, and Oviedo also makes the roster you are talking about 2 of Colin, Yerry, or Dauri starting in AAA. I would like to see all 3 on the OD roster, but I think that is highly unlikely.


shelton said it’s likely that stephenson starts the year on the IL


I believe yesterday was his first game action of the spring due to injury. IL makes sense


No matter how it is presented, outside of Bednar, our bullpen is a mess.

As for Oviedo, I still prefer him as a RP.

b mcferren

end of the bullpen looks good but we need to trade for a long term solution for late inning left handed reliever

April, May, June, July Crowe is dominant

Holderman has muscles

De Jong, Underwood wont be here long and Mlod and parade of young right handers will yield results


Maybe I am drinking the Kool-Aid, but I am not as despondent. I think the starters are going to shorten/lighten the pressure on the bullpen. AND I think the bullpen will be much better than pedestrian.


Well this is what happens when the team does not try to acquire established relievers. Instead they play the waiver wire game. We have a bunch of 5 inning starters and a very questionable bullpen. 70 wins might be tougher than i thought.


An established reliever is not a concept that I understand. But, if you look at the list, most of the candidates were acquired via trade.


Are you saying that there are no such thing as an established reliever?


Pretty much. Like all pitchers their next pitch might be their last, and relievers typically have sub-par control and command. So, that great slider may be superb one year and worthless the next.


Established & effective relievers are out of our price range. Bullpen arms are volatile. Knowing we can’t afford to sign shutdown relievers in free agency, Huntington did good job of finding diamonds in rough . This regime has been less effective – though Bednar is a highly notable exception


I gave the example of the guy that I was hoping to sign, Chafin, he didn’t cost much, and this is without going into our Pirate budget mindset.


Sorry I just read below other commentators made similar points , I should have read down first


Too bad we can’t bring Neal back to just build bullpens, he was pretty good at that.


Agree with you, was really hoping they brought in Andrew Chafin as a 7-8th inning guy, he was available very late in the off season and sign an affordable contract even for Pirates standards.


They did acquire Jarlin Garcia and Holderman and Moreta and Stephenson and …

There are a couple NRIs but this isn’t a waiver wire bullpen and “established relievers” regularly have up and down seasons. I am sure you would not prefer $5 – $10 million relievers when they have an off year as relievers often do.

I think there are a number of live arms and a semblance of. Plan here. Mlod and Bolton and Oviedo and even Luis Ortiz all have reliever risk.

Last edited 2 months ago by sewer2001

Better said than me.

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