ROANSY CONTRERAS, RIGHT HANDED PITCHER
|Born: November 7, 1999
Signed: International Free Agent, 2016 (Yankees)
How Acquired: Trade (with Yankees for Jameson Taillon)
Country: Dominican Republic
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
|Contreras was one of the Yankees’ top signings in the 2016-17 international signing period, when they were limited to bonuses of $300,000 or less. He throws a fastball, slider, curve and change. His fastball averaged 92-95 mph before the Pirates acquired him, but improved to 96-97 in 2021. The breaking balls are both consistently above average, with the slider being a dominant pitch. He seldom throws the change, which may leave him vulnerable to left-handed hitters, although so far it doesn’t seem to be working out that way. Contreras has shown good control. He didn’t miss a lot of bats in full season ball prior to 2021, but with the Pirates has sharply increased his K rate. They obtained him in the Jameson Taillon trade.
The Yankees started Contreras in the DSL, where he pitched decently. After about a month they moved him up to the Gulf Coast League.
Contreras made five starts in the New York-Penn League and dominated, enough so that Baseball America named him the league’s fifth best prospect, as well as seventh with the Yankees. The team moved him up to full season ball and he continued to pitch well. He was the youngest pitcher in each league.
The Yankees moved Contreras up to the Florida State League and he spent the season there. He pitched well without dominating, as his K rate wasn’t great. BA rated him ninth in the system.
The Yankees did not bring Contreras to their training facility during the pandemic season. They did add him to the 40-man roster afterward.
Contreras had a breakout season for the Pirates. His fastball velocity increased to the mid- to upper-90s and his secondary stuff became more effective. In his first two games with Altoona, he fanned 11 in each, in 11 total innings. In the second one he allowed no hits over six innings. He missed all of July and August with forearm tightness, but it turned out not to be serious. At the end of the season Contreras made one start for the Pirates and threw three shutout innings.
Contreras opened the season in the Pirates’ bullpen, but went to AAA after three appearances. The Pirates brought him back up in late May and he stayed in their rotation until early July. At that point, the Pirates sent him down because of what they called a need for workload management. Of course, they could have used him in relief in the majors, which they did early in the year. And it just so happened that the time in AAA left his service time where he probably won’t qualify for super two status. Just coincidentally. Anyway, with Bob Nutting’s profit margin safe, Contreras returned to the majors and spent the last month and a half of the season in the rotation. Contreras generally pitched well and often looked dominant. Occasionally his control would falter and he had a couple of bad outings. He may have had some troubles as a result of tipping his pitches, a possibility that came to light after the season. That might explain, for instance, him allowing 13 home runs, a little over one every seven innings. Contreras had a small reverse platoon split. His velocity declined a little, from 96-98 in June to 94-96 in Aug/Sept.
Contreras figures to be a key piece of the Pirates’ rotation going forward. With the service time manipulation out of the way, he should be in the majors to start 2023.
|2023: Major League Minimum|
|Signing Bonus: $250,000
MiLB Debut: 2017
MLB Debut: 9/29/2021
MiLB FA Eligible: N/A
MLB FA Eligible: 2027
Rule 5 Eligible: N/A
Added to 40-Man: 11/20/20
Options Remaining: 1 (USED: 2021, 2022)
MLB Service Time: 0.112
|July 2, 2016: Signed as an international free agent by the New York Yankees.
November 20, 2020: Contract purchased by the New York Yankees.
January 24, 2021: Traded by the New York Yankees with Miguel Yajure, Canaan Smith and Maikol Escotto to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Jameson Taillon.