This is one in a series of stories looking at the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 40-man roster members.
One trade during the 2022 off-season that has been forgotten has got to be the one made on Nov. 18, where the Pirates traded shortstop Kevin Newman to the Cincinnati Reds for Dauri Moreta.
Moreta is a 26-year-old right-handed pitcher out of the Dominican Republic.
The 6-foot-2 Dominican native originally signed with the Reds back in 2015 and spent quite some time in the Reds’ lower levels.
Moreta didn’t even reach the Reds’ Double-A affiliate until he was 25, but during his time in the minor leagues, he posted an ERA of 3.25 in 200 relief appearances.
It seems as though Moreta offers a fairly even four-pitch mix with a four-seam (30.3%), sinker (25.1%), slider (24%), and a changeup (20.6%).
There is some good news and some bad news about his tool belt.
The four-seam had some good numbers attached to it, with opponents only hitting a .190 average and an average exit velocity of 89.9 mph.
The sinker has seen better days, with opponents smashing it to a tune of .378 and an average exit velocity of 95.8 mph. The most glaring mark on Moreta’s sinker has got to be his placement, with most of them sitting at the top of the zone.
Moreta’s best pitch in terms of effectiveness has got to be his slider, with a whiff% of 48.9 and a batting average of .103.
Maybe the Pirates saw some potential with Moreta’s sinker, and maybe pitching coach Oscar Marin can fine-tune it, but there are a few other things they may have to address.
If the Pirates want to see better results out of that sinker, they may want to see more pitches down in the zone. Moreta has been a big-time offender in flyballs, with a 49% flyball rate.
Getting out of the home run haven known as Great America Ball Park should calm those flyball numbers down.
Some more good news for Pirates’ fans is Moreta finished his ’22 campaign strong with 17 scoreless appearances out of his last 20 to a tune of 2.92 ERA and an opponent average of .192.
The only glaring mark in that 20-game stretch was on July 6 against the New York Mets, where Moreta gave up four earned runs in one inning of work.
With the Pirates’ bullpen looking rather strong, we must ask where Moreta fits at the major league level. The good news is that Moreta has two minor league options left, so maybe we will see Moreta start out in Triple-A.
Spring training should be an interesting time.