This is the one in a series of stories looking at members of the Pittsburgh Pirates 40-man roster.
Roansy Contreras’ first extended look with the Pittsburgh Pirates during the 2022 season was a unique one.
The right-hander had three different stints with the Bucs last season, his first coming out of the bullpen.
That first stint was in the very early stages of the season in April. The 23-year-old pitched well out of the pen, posting a 3.52 ERA in three appearances.
Pittsburgh then optioned Contreras to Triple-A Indianapolis to keep an eye on his innings as he built back up in the Indians’ rotation.
After a roughly two-month stint back up with the Pirates beginning in May, Contreras returned to the big leagues for the remainder of the season in the middle August.
On the year as a whole, Contreras finished tied for second on the team with five wins. He went 5-5 with a 3.79 ERA/4.38 FIP in 21 appearances/18 starts. He struck out 86 batters and issued 39 free passes in 95 innings.
Contreras limited opponents to just a .225 batting average against and a .715 OPS.
The rookie right-hander entered the season as arguably the Pirates’ top pitching prospect. The Pirates acquired Contreras from the New York Yankees in the five-player deal that sent fellow righty Jameson Taillon to the Bronx.
A strong 2021 minor league season between Double-A Altoona and a lone appearance in Triple-A elevated his prospect status and cemented him as a prospect to watch.
The strong season in the minor league led to the Pirates calling him up to make his major league debut against the Chicago Cubs at the end of the season.
Contreras blanked Chicago across three innings and struck out four — adding to his allure.
Now, with his prospect status in the rearview mirror, the Pirates are looking for continued success out of Contreras as he becomes a crucial part of the club’s rotation.
Though he only turned 23 years old last month, Contreras’ ability and upside peg him to be a frontline starting pitcher.
Alongside Mitch Keller, the duo gives the Pirates a formidable one-two punch atop the rotation heading into next season.
Unlike his role last season, Contreras has the opportunity to spend the entire season as part of the big league rotation.
With a rotation spot locked down and expectations to perform well, Contreras will face a different kind of test for the first time as the Bucs look to get back on track in 2023.