This is one in a series of stories breaking down members of the Pittsburgh Pirates 40-man roster.
Dauri Moreta is coming off of his first season with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and it was a compelling one for the right-handed reliever.
Last offseason, the Pirates acquired Moreta from the division-rival Cincinnati Reds in exchange for shortstop Kevin Newman. It turned out to be a savvy pickup by general manager Ben Cherington.
Moreta made 55 appearances out of the Pirates’ bullpen in 2023, which marked the third-most appearances on the team. In 58 total innings of work, Moreta was effective.
The 27-year-old finished the season 5-2 with a 3.72 ERA and 76 strikeouts. Moreta finished tied for fourth on the team in wins and had the second-most strikeouts of any Pirates’ reliever behind All-Star closer David Bednar (80). He earned his second-career save on Apr. 15 against the Cardinals in St. Louis.
Moreta limited opposing batters to a miniscule .187 average against to pair with a .606 OPS. He excelled at inducing weak contact with an impressive 85.7 mph exit velocity against him.
While Moreta’s 3.72 was a healthy 20% better than league average, he finished the year with a stellar 2.93 FIP, indicating he pitched even better than his surface-level results dictate.
One of the main reasons for Moreta’s success last season came down to his ability to more-or-less defy physics. His slider, a pitch he throws about 65% of the time, may spin like a slider, but it breaks the opposite way.
Moreta’s slider often looks more like a screwball and the pitch leaves batters scratching their heads. Only three pitchers in baseball used their slider more than he did. In addition to his slider, Moreta features a mid-90s fastball and the occasional changeup.
The right-hander became popular among the fanbase for his celebration when walking off the mound at the end of his outing. He’d rub his fingers together, giving the universal sign for money. One time, he pulled out an actual $20 bill from his pocket at the end of the season, living up to his nickname of ‘Big Bank.’
Moreta figures to have a prominent role in the Pirates’ bullpen next year and beyond. Along with Bednar, Carmen Mlodzinski and Colin Holderman, the back-half of the bullpen next season could be a strength for the Pittsburgh Pirates.