PITTSBURGH- Coming into the 2023 season, the Pittsburgh Pirates and fans alike had high hopes for starting pitcher Roansy Contreras.
As of late, Contreras just seems off and can’t catch a break on the mound. Over his last seven games, Contreras owns an 0-4 record with a bloated ERA of 8.16.
One of Contreras’ weaknesses this season is the lack of a fastball and it having swing-and-miss stuff.
After his last start on June 7 against the Oakland Athletics, Contreras had a whiff% of 8.8, which isn’t what you call a good percentage to have as a starting pitcher.
What Contreras possesses is a great slider which has held opponents to a .194 average and a whiff% of 35.8.
On his weekly radio show, Pirates general manager Ben Cherington spoke about Contreras and the potential of him moving to the bullpen for now.
“We’re going to give him a chance to help us in that way short term,” said Cherington on Contreras joining the bullpen. “You think about what you’re looking for in a pitcher; someone who cares has a high work ethic, a good teammate who’s accountable, who’s athletic, has good stuff and arm. He checks every box, he’s just gotten himself in a situation where he’s not in his best form, and he knows that, obviously.”
“He’s really highly accountable. Nobody wants to be better than Roansy himself. There’s an opportunity here to maybe use him in a different way, which allows Oscar [Marin], and our pitching group to work on some things with him. They’ve been trying to work with him as he’s started games, it’s just a little bit harder when you’re going out there, and you know you have to get three times through a lineup. We’ll take the gas off, so to speak, and we’re confident over time that Roansy is going to respond to this.”
Cherington didn’t mention what Marin and the pitching staff were going to work with Contreras on, but one can assume it’s a different pitch to get better results.
A possible suggestion could be a cutter or a sinker to pair better with his slider.