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Pirates Announce Opening Day Roster

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The Pirates unveiled their their Opening Day roster ahead of Thursday’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals. The 28-man roster consists of 14 pitchers and 14 position players. The roster will have to shrink back to the standard 26-man roster after May 1. 

To make room for newcomers Andrew Knapp and Jake Marisnick, right-hander Adonis Medina was DFA’d and outfielder Greg Allen was place on the 60-day IL.

Let’s dive in.

Starting Rotation

JT Brubaker – 2021 stats: 5-13, 5.36 ERA/5.16 FIP, 24 starts, 124.1 innings, 38 walks, 129 strikeouts

Brubaker makes his first career Opening Day start looking to bounce back from a rough second half of the season. Through June, the right-hander carried a 3.82 ERA/4.34 FIP, but had a 7.91 ERA/6.51 FIP over his last 10 starts.

Mitch Keller – 2021 stats: 5-11, 6.17 ERA/4.30 FIP, 23 starts, 100.2 innings, 49 walks, 92 strikeouts

Keller looks primed to finally breakout after a strong spring led by increased velocity and a new breaking ball.

Bryse Wilson – 2021 stats: 3-7, 5.35 ERA/5.49 FIP, 16 starts, 74 innings, 22 walks, 46 strikeouts

The Pirates acquired Wilson at the trade deadline last year and the right-hander posted a 4.91 ERA in eight starts with the Pirates

Zach Thompson – 2021 stats: 3-7, 3.24 ERA/3.69 FIP, 26 games (14 starts), 75 innings, 28 walks, 66 strikeouts

Thompson impressed in his rookie season with the Marlins. Now the Pirates will give him an opportunity as a full-time starter

Jose Quintana – 2021 stats: 0-3, 6.43 ERA/4.66 FIP, 29 games (10 starts), 63 innings, 35 walks, 85 strikeouts

The Bucs inked the veteran left-hander to a one-year deal in the offseason. He’ll love to bounce back and prove himself after battling injures the last two seasons.

Bullpen

David Bednar – 2021 stats: 3-1, 2.23 ERA/2.69 FIP, 60.2 innings, 19 walks, 77 strikeouts, 3 saves

Bednar figures to get the bulk of save opportunities and high-leverage situations as the Bucs’ top reliever

Chris Stratton – 2021 stats: 7-1, 3.63 ERA/3.79 FIP, 79.1 innings, 33 walks, 86 strikeouts, 8 saves

Among the league leaders in innings last year for relievers, the Pirates will again call on Stratton a lot this season as a steady force out of the pen.

Heath Hembree – 2021 stats: 2-7, 5.59 ERA/4.34 FIP, 58 innings, 24 walks, 83 strikeouts, 9 saves

Signed as a free agent this winter, Hembree is a high-strikeout reliever but as a bit of a homerun bugaboo, which the Pirates are hoping he can overcome.

Duane Underwood Jr. – 2021 stats: 2-3, 4.33 ERA/4.27 FIP, 72.2 innings, 27 walks, 65 strikeouts

Underwood was a horse for the Pirates before an injury cut his season short. Expect to see a lot of him again this season.

Anthony Banda – 2021 stats: 2-2, 4.28 ERA/4.92 FIP, 33.2 innings, 13 walks, 32 strikeouts

Banda pitched well for the Pirates after coming over from the Mets. He looked pretty good this spring.

Wil Crowe – 2021 stats: 4-8, 5.48 ERA/5.67 FIP, 26 games (25 starts), 116.2 innings, 57 walks, 111 strikeouts 

Crowe led the team in starts last season but finds himself in the bullpen to start the season. Look for him to be used in a “piggy-back” role, a role he did well in this spring.

Dillon Peters – 2021 stats: 1-2, 3.71 ERA/3.66 FIP 6 starts, 26.2 innings, 10 walks, 23 strikeouts

Like Crowe, Peters finds himself in the bullpen in a long-man type role. Peters pitched well in his six starts with the Bucs last year.

Miguel Yajure – 2021 stats: 0-2, 8.40 ERA/8.50 FIP, 4 games (3 starts), 15 innings, 7 walks, 11 strikeouts

Yajure didn’t see much action in the big leagues last year and battled some injuries. He’s considered one of the Pirates better pitching prospects.

Aaron Fletcher – 2021 stats: 0-0, 12.27 ERA/6.44 FIP, 3.2 innings, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts 

Fletcher will look to put together a productive season in his first extended look in the big leagues

Catchers

Roberto Perez – 2021 stats: .149/.245/.319, 3 doubles, 7 home runs, 17 RBIs, 44 games

Perez will look to put his injuries and struggles at the plate behind him. He’s a good defender behind the plate.

Andrew Knapp – 2021 stats: .152/.215/.214, 3 doubles, 2 homers, 11 RBIs, 62 games

Knapp is looking to be more like the 2020 version of himself after a rough go around a year ago with the Phillies.

Infielders 

Yoshi Tsutsugo – 2021 stats: .217/.307/.383, 12 doubles, 1 triple, 8 home runs, 32 RBIs, 81 games

Tsutsugo split time between three teams a season ago and will try and replicate the success he had in his stint to end the year in Pittsburgh.

Daniel Vogelbach – 2021 stats: .219/.349/.381, 8 doubles, 9 home runs, 24 RBIs, 93 games

Vogelbach and his big power potential will get a chance with the Bucs thanks to the universal DH after coming over from Milwaukee on a free agent deal.

Diego Castillo – 2021 stats (Minors): .278/.355/.487, 24 doubles, 19 home runs, 55 RBIs, 9 steals, 105 games

Castillo gets his first taste of the big league on the Pirates Opening Day roster. He’ll look to continue the momentum from his strong 2021 regular season and spring.

Michael Chavis – 2021 stats: .248/.258/.397, 7 doubles, 1 triple, 3 home runs, 11 RBIs, 43 games

Chavis had success in his brief stint with the Pirates after coming over from the Red Sox in July. He figures to get some time at multiple places in the field.

Hoy Park – 2021 stats: .195/.297/.336, 5 doubles, 2 triples, 3 home runs, 14 RBIs, 45 games

The Pirates acquired Park alongside Castillo from the Yankees for Clay Holmes. He showed flashes last season and will now look to show consistency.

Kevin Newman – 2021 stats: .226/.265/.309, 22 doubles, 3 triples, 5 home runs, 39 RBIs, 6 steals, 148 games

Newman showed great improvement defensively and was named a Gold Glove finalist at short. Heading into 2022, he’ll look to show improvement with the bat.

Ke’Bryan Hayes – 2021 stats: .257/.316/.373, 20 doubles, 2 triples, 6 home runs, 38 RBIs, 9 steals, 96 games

Hayes was hampered by injuries last season that limited him offensively. He still led all third baseman with 16 DRS despite missing a big chunk of time.

Josh VanMeter – 2021 stats: .212/.297/..354, 17 doubles, 2 triples, 6 home runs, 36 RBIs, 3 steals, 112 games

One of the newest Pirates, VanMeter has some pop and has a good eye at the plate, but he’ll need to make more consistent contact to reach his potential.

Outfielders

Ben Gamel – 2021 stats: .247/.347/.388, 18 doubles, 3 triples, 8 home runs, 26 RBIs, 122 games

Gamel proved to be a nice addition to the Bucs early on last year and will be the main guy anchoring one of the corner outfield spots

Bryan Reynolds – 2021 stats: .302/.390/.522, 35 doubles, 8 triples, 24 home runs, 90 RBIs, 5 steals, 159 games

Reynolds emerged as one of the best outfielders in baseball a season ago. He’s become one of the better all-around players in the sport.

Cole Tucker – 2021 stats: .222/.298/.342, 4 doubles, 2 triples, 2 home runs, 12 RBIs, 2 steals, 43 games

Tucker really played well down the stretch and impressed during spring training. Can he keep it going into the start of the regular season?

Jake Marisnick – 2021 stats: .216/.286/.375, 7 doubles, 3 triples, 5 home runs, 24 RBIs, 4 steals, 99 games

Just signed as a free agent, Marisnick is a gifted defensive outfielder who has plus-speed and some pop. He figures to be a fourth outfielder for now.

 

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