The Pirates will call up right-handed pitching prospect Roansy Contreras tomorrow, Z101 Digital’s Hector Gomez reports (via Twitter). The 21-year-old Contreras will make his big league debut in a start against the Cubs.
Acquired from the Yankees as part of the Jameson Taillon trade package last winter, Contreras has pitched only 58 innings in his first season in the Pirates organization due to a forearm strain. He missed all of July and August recuperating, and has since pitched in four games. Just one of those games was at the Triple-A level, so Contreras is heading to the majors with only 3 2/3 innings under his belt at the highest rung of the minor league ladder.
That said, Baseball America’s Mark Chiarelli writes that “Contreras arguably raised his stock as much as any pitcher through the first half of the minor league season.” The right-hander had a 2.64 ERA and a big 35% strikeout rate over 58 combined innings at Double-A and Triple-A, and added some very solid control with a 5.55% walk rate. The big spike in strikeout rate over Contreras’ three previous minor league years with the Yankees was due to increased fastball velocity (up to 95-97mph), plus a slider that serves as a fourth pitch behind an already-intriguing changeup and curveball.
This breakthrough year has increased the optimism that Contreras can remain as a starter at the Major League level. Both Baseball America and MLB Pipeline rank Contreras as the sixth-best prospect in a strong Pittsburgh’s farm system, which speaks to Contreras’ development. The rebuilding Bucs don’t have much to lose in taking a look at Contreras in late September, as the youngster could now be on the radar to join the rotation by early 2022.