Starter outlook for 2023

The 2023 Pirates Rotation shows some real promise. They have a strong core of young guys either at the MLB level or soon to be.

Rich Hill. One of the biggest off season signings so far. The 43 year old 18 year vet showed in recent years he still has a live arm and may provide some stability in the rotation to start the year. If he does halfway decent he probably will not be on the team at the deadline given that prospects are good even if they’re not higher rated ones. There is also the fact that the Pirates have prospects they want to get in to the rotation.

Mitch Keller. We have been waiting for years for Mitch to do something and finally he has. The second half of the season was pretty good. He didn’t look like a front end starter but despite letting runners on base, they didn’t score as often. No matter which way you look at it, the second half is the best he played for a sustained period. If he continues at that rate he would be a decent mid/back end starter. If he builds on that second half performance then he sure could be a front end. Given his past he could also go the other way. Personally I feel we are finally seeing what we knew he could do.

Roansy Contreras. This guy has front line written all over him. Maybe not an Ace but he looks like he can play the part of a Number 2 with out much thought. That is just from watching him. His minors stats are pretty short sample with just 350 innings but his MLB stats are comparable. At only 22 he has lots of room to improve as well.

JT Brubaker. He seems to get more hype than his play deserves. The best way to classify him is that he is a back end starter with the pirates, possibly a long relief man on a better team. Good chance he starts 2023 in the rotation.

Johan Oviedo. Underrated prospect but still not someone you look at and say he is a for sure starter. He is however a good candidate to start 2023 somewhere in the rotation probably back end or 6th man.

Luis Ortiz. Here is another that has a short minor league sample and only 10 innings in AAA along with a few games at the MLB level. Most of his minors time has been okay but not spectacular. His ERA does not inspire but his WHIP has been pretty good. Probably won’t get a spot out of spring but we will probably see him get some real time in 2023

Vince Velasquez. Nearly everyone considers him a starter however his track record as a starting pitcher does not suggest so. In 2022 he had roughly a 1.4 WHIP with a 5.25 ERA, his career stats as a starter also does not look pretty. However in 2022 he performed pretty well as a reliever with a 1.05 WHIP and a 4.25 ERA. The Pirates will give him a chance to start but I do not believe he will stay there. Likely a long or middle relief person.

Quinn Priester. He will not be starting out of spring but expect to see him sometime in 2023. He has a ceiling of an Ace. If all goes well I expect to see him by the all star break.

Mike Burrows. He too will not be coming out of spring but he also has a pretty good chance of being a starter by the end of 2023, if nothing else he will be coming out of the pen. If someone goes down with injury, trade or sent to the minors, he is on the short list to call up.

There are also a handful of other near ready pitchers trying to make their way in to the MLB it all comes down to who perform best.