The Pirates claimed right-hander Connor Overton off waivers from the Blue Jays on Monday, according to a club announcement from Pittsburgh. To make room on the 40-man roster, righty Duane Underwood Jr. was transferred from the 10-day injured list to the 60-day injured list.
Overton, 28, was designated for assignment by the Jays last week to make roster space for their waiver claim of veteran infielder Jake Lamb. Overton’s initial call the Majors this season was his first, and he responded by tossing 6 2/3 innings of scoreless ball with four strikeouts and a pair of walks. It was the continuation of a strong season in Triple-A, where he’d logged a 2.03 ERA with a below-average 21.6 percent strikeout rate but an excellent 4.3 percent walk rate and an above-average 47.9 percent ground-ball rate.
The bulk of Overton’s career has been spent in the Giants organization, although he was originally a 15th-round pick of the Marlins back in 2014. He’s been a minor league free agent on three occasions, going first to the Nationals, then to the Giants and lastly to the Blue Jays. Along the way, Overton has battled multiple injuries, including Tommy John surgery, and played for a pair of teams on the independent circuit: the Atlantic League’s Lancaster Barnstormers and the American Association’s Sioux City Explorers.
It hasn’t been the most straightforward path to the big leagues for Overton, but he’ll get another opportunity to add to an impressive start now that he’s headed to the Pirates. Overton has all of his minor league options remaining, so he could be a flexible depth option for the Bucs next season if they’re willing to keep him on the 40-man roster all winter. In parts of three Triple-A seasons, Overton has a 2.39 ERA with a 22.4 percent strikeout rate, a 5.4 percent walk rate and a 46.9 percent ground-ball rate.