The Pirates are planning to add two new arms to their pitching mix, as Z101 Digital’s Hector Gomez (Twitter links) reports that the Bucs will call up right-handers Roansy Contreras and Yerry De Los Santos from Triple-A. De Los Santos isn’t on the 40-man roster, so the Pirates will need to make another corresponding move to create space.
This is the second time that Contreras has been on the big league roster this season, as he posted a 3.52 ERA over 7 2/3 innings of relief work in April. Pittsburgh then sent Contreras down to the minors to get him stretched out as a starting pitcher, and it would appear as though the Bucs will now use Contreras in their rotation. With his last Triple-A game falling on May 19, Contreras would seem to be lined up to start Tuesday when the Pirates host the Rockies at PNC Park.
After also tossing three innings in a single appearance with Pittsburgh in 2021, Contreras may finally be set for more of an extended look in the big leagues. A consensus top-100 prospect in preseason rankings, Fangraphs was the most enthusiastic about Contreras’ potential, ranking him as the 42nd-best minor leaguer in baseball. Contreras added a lot of velocity to his fastball in 2021 and now sits around a 94-96mph average. His slider and curveball are also considered plus pitches, and his changeup has potential, though lacks some consistency.
Contreras was acquired from the Yankees as part of the Jameson Taillon trade package in January 2021, and has now become the most MLB-ready of any pitching prospect in the deep Pirates farm system. Getting Contreras into a starting role would not only be a good sign that the Bucs’ long rebuild is turning a corner, but it is also quite possible that he could provide immediate help. Aside from veteran Jose Quintana, Pittsburgh’s rotation has struggles, so there is plenty of opportunity for Contreras to claim a regular turn.
After signing with the Pirates as an amateur free agent in 2015, the 24-year-old De Los Santos is now getting his first taste of Major League action. While De Los Santos isn’t ranked within the top 30 Pittsburgh prospects by either MLB Pipeline or Baseball America, it isn’t uncommon for relievers to be omitted from those lists, even when a reliever posts De Los Santos’ kinds of eye-popping numbers. Since becoming a full-time reliever in 2017, De Los Santos has a 1.63 ERA and 32.3% strikeout rate over 115 2/3 innings — this includes a 1.72 ERA, 34.5% strikeout rate, and 3.4% walk rate over 15 2/3 frames at Triple-A this season.