by J.T. Toth
Photo courtesy of Bleacher Nation.
With the season nearing an end, the Pirates have a chance to get valuable playing time for some of their younger players and elevate targeted prospects for their first major league experience. In essence, the season is over for the Bucs, so young guys will get 50 plus games to get their feet wet, make mistakes and as manager Derek Shelton said, “get used to the speed of the game.”
With many questions yet to be answered, Draft 412 has decided to go through each position and give our prediction on what may or may not happen when the Pirates step on the field March 28th, 2024 in Miami.
The Pirates had an opportunity to move David Bednar during the trade deadline but decided to keep the local product and all-star closer. Keeping him showed the fans of Pittsburgh that management thinks the Pirates are closer to winning than some may think. Hopefully, we hear “Renegade” a bunch next year in the 9th inning of games.
Draft 412 Choice - David Bednar
Set-up Man (Righty)
Colin Holderman was obtained last season from the New York Mets in the Daniel Vogelbach trade and has pitched well for the Pirates. Though he has had some small stretches of inconsistency, he has for the most part been an electric relief pitcher who gets unbelievable movement on his pitches. His ERA right now sits at 3.29 and Draft 412 feels comfortable with him as a reliable set up man in the 8th innings of games.
Carmen Mlodzinski, a rookie starting pitcher who was moved to the bullpen, has shown some nasty stuff in his own right and could push Holderman for some high leverage outings.
Draft 412 Choice - Colin Holderman
Set-up Man (Lefty)
Ben Cherington made a move in March of 2023 that did not get the press some of his other moves did. He took left-handed relief pitcher Jose Hernandez in the Rule 5 draft from the Los Angeles Dodgers, and he has since become one of the Pirates' best relief pitchers. Despite playing no higher than AA, Hernandez has been a consistent pitcher and has an 0-1 record with a 3.93 ERA. He has struck out 45 hitters in 36 innings and lefties are only hitting .170 against him.
Draft 412 choice - Jose Hernandez
Here are some of the arms who have a good chance of making the roster next year.
The rookie pitcher has been a blessing for this bullpen and with starting pitching on his resume, may be that long relief pitcher that teams are always in need of.
In 28 games this season, the 29-year-old journeyman Angel Perdomo has been solid. He is 3-2 and has a 3.21 ERA, and has 42 strikeouts in 28 innings pitched. He could force his way into a left handed setup role but either way he should be a part of the pen in 2024.
Yerry De Los Santos
Yerry De Los Santos has had moments this season where he had command of all three of his best pitches and could work more than an inning. He was sent down to the minors, but is wasn’t due to lack of production. He is 1-1 with a 3.33 ERA in 22 games for the Pirates.
The Pirates have some other arms who could factor into the bullpen in 2024 and let’s not forget that the Pirates seem to do a good job of picking up arms for the bullpen every off-season. These players may need some help to make the bullpen in 2024.
Andre Jackson (RHP)
Ryan Borucki (LHP)
Colin Selby (RHP)
Thomas Hatch (RHP)
Dauri Moreta (RHP)
Vince Velasquez (RHP)
Yohan Ramirez (RHP)
Draft 412 Analysis
David Bednar is a top notch closer, and if Holderman and Hernandez keep growing, the top end of the bullpen will be really strong in 2024. Carmen Mlodzinski can also become a star out of the bullpen, though Draft 412 wouldn’t mind seeing him get a chance at starting again.
Please visit www.draft412.com for part four of this article next week.