This is one in a series of stories breaking down members of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 40-man roster.
It’s only right that we close out out 40-man roster breakdown series with two-time All-Star closer David Bednar, right?
Bednar has been the Pittsburgh Pirates’ relief ace since he was acquired from the San Diego Padres prior to the start of the 2021 season.
At the time of the deal, Bednar, a graduate of Mars High School outside of Pittsburgh, made for a neat story but was considered more of an afterthought in the Pirates’ five-man return for Joe Musgrove.
In parts of two seasons with the Padres from 2019-20, Bednar accumulated a 6.75 ERA across 17 appearances out of the Friars’ bullpen.
The Pirates were banking on Bednar’s impressive minor league track record. He posted a sub-3.00 ERA in each of his four seasons in the minor leagues, including a 2.95 mark in Double-A before bypassing Triple-A and getting promoted to San Diego.
Since joining the Pirates, not only has Bednar cemented himself as the Pirates’ top relief pitcher, but he’s become one of the better closers in baseball.
Dating back to the start of the 2021 season, Bednar has the sixth-lowest ERA amongst qualified relievers (2.25). His highest mark during a single-season while wearing the black and gold was 2.61 during the 2022 campaign
Bednar was an All-Star that year, and returned to the Midsummer Classic again this past season. In 2023, Bednar owned an even-2.00 ERA and was tied for the National League lead with 39 saves.
Bednar has struck out 226 batters in 179.2 total innings with the Pirates, good for 11.2 strikeouts per nine innings. He also has excellent command and walks less than three batters per nine.
The 29-year-old will enter spring training again as the team’s closer with what looks to be a strong bullpen. The Pirates already had Colin Holderman, Carmen Mlodzinski, Dauri Moreta and Ryan Borucki back in the picture for the upcoming season, and they’ve since agreed to a deal with Aroldis Chapman to strengthen the unit even further.
It’s been quite a journey for Bednar, who was a 35th-round selection in 2016 out Lafayette College. For context, the draft is now 20 rounds as opposed to the 40 rounds that it was in his draft year.
To do what he’s done for the team he cheered for as a youngster, it’s fair to say that David Bednar is quite literally living his dream.