Pirates Prospects Daily: Roansy Contreras Could Find Balance in Bullpen Role

It was known that Vince Velasquez was going to make his return to the rotation this weekend against the Seattle Mariners. The surprising part of it all was the corresponding move to make space for him: the Pirates designated Duane Underwood Jr. for assignment.

Luis Ortiz seemed like an obvious choice to be sent down, despite his stellar outing against the Texas Rangers, but the Pirates instead opted to further shorten their bullpen by getting rid of Underwood.

This could provide an opportunity to shift Roansy Contreras to a bullpen role.

After being acquired by the Pirates in the Jameson Taillon trade, Contreras tore through the minors in 2021, making his major league debut at the end of the season. He bounced up and down a bit in 2022, before settling in the rotation by the end of things.

Contreras has really had to rely on the slider this year, having one of the highest usage among starters. He’s been essentially limited to just two-pitches — the fastball and slider — although the former has been hit incredibly hard.

The only issue with using only two pitches is that only one of them is having success at the moment. It’s hard enough to make it as a starter with two-pitches, but if only one is effective, then it’s easy to see why Contreras is struggling right now.

They are actually polar opposites of each other, at least when it comes to Run Value on Baseball Savant. The slider is one of the best pitches in the majors right now, with the fastball one of the worst.

Hitters have nearly a .400 batting average against his fastball this year, and rarely misses bats with it (7.4 Whiff%, second worst to Shane Bieber).

While it would be too early to give up on Contreras as a starter, getting a reset to be able to focus on re-establishing the fastball in shorter stints may have been the best course to get him back on track.

Mitch Keller was sent to the bullpen last year, and we have seen how things have gone since then.

Unfortunately, Velasquez was lifted from his start on Saturday with elbow discomfort. Not a great sign in his first start immediately after returning from the injured list.

Contreras has the stuff, and still just 23-years-old. We saw it took Keller a few years to figure things out, but Contreras may have an advantage, as there is now a roadmap to follow.

Daily Video Rundown

It does feel like there are times that Shalin Polanco is still a tad overmatched at Single-A, which at 19-years-old there isn’t anything wrong with that. He’s shown some impressive power and ability to barrel the ball, this one he got just enough of to drive in a pair.

It was the most wild we’ve seen Jared Jones lately, but even through that, he was impressive. He struck out five batters in 4.1 innings, hitting 98 mph on the radar gun.

I did a breakdown of Anthony Solometo facing Top 100 prospects Carson Williams and Junior Caminero. This is the video of his entire start.


By Tim Williams

Regular site articles resume on Monday. My column today looks at the start of the season for the Pirates.

Links from this week’s limited production schedule:


**Pirates DFA Duane Underwood Jr., Vince Velasquez Returns from Injured List


**Potential Plan For Jared Triolo Becoming More Clear


**Sean Sullivan Continues To Thrive In Altoona


**Anthony Solometo Faces Two Top 100 Prospects In Greensboro


**Luis Peralta Using Sinker In Less Conventional Way


**Pirates Draft Prospect Watch: Paul Skenes and Wyatt Langford Close Out Regular Season Strong


**Williams: The Next Phase at Pirates Prospects


I love this massive version of this song. 070 Shake is a sleeper artist to follow.

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TOOTBLAN to start the game.


Let’s hope they got it out of the way

Bryan Hall

I assume Roansy is back in the rotation. If not, there are some off days coming up and you could go 4 man and bring Priester up for a spot start against Oakland. I’m not saying that it is a good strategy, I’m saying it’s doable to keep him in the bullpen for a bit.


Maybe a simple skipped start will help?


I fell into an absolutely delightful YouTube wormhole of Terell Grice’s song association videos with various individual singers last night. Seeing the absurdly large choir backing Kanye in the song of the day was a beautiful juxtaposition to that for me.


Am I wrong or is this site going to end at years end? I would miss the international signing news.


Theres been no mention of this


I’m hoping Bubba starts developing more control then command, if he starts progressing like Jones and Solometo the future looks real bright.
I think a little reset in the bullpen would help Ro, just worried that VV is going to be down for a bit and depth is not a luxury at least not right now


This article may be OBE if VV has to go back on the DL, er ah, IL?


Go Tony Solo!!


What’s the deal-eo with the daily Prospect Watch??

Tim Williams

Reduced production schedule this week.


Welcome back sir.

Pirates Prospects Daily


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