Through the Prospect Porthole – Promote Roansy Contreras Now?

Three starts, 17.2 innings pitched, 0.00 ERA, 28 Strike outs and just 3 walks. The kid can hit triple digits on the radar gun and has graded 60 plus breaking and off speed stuff.

So it makes sense to see many calling for Roansy to get a hasty call up to AAA, he’s clearly flirting with perfection in the early going of his AA stint with the Curve.

He last pitched in 2019 for High A Charleston in the Yankees system and showed quite well there too. Of all his impressive stats there, quite possibly none were more important than his durability. This isn’t a big bodied guy and the rub on him was questionable ability to handle the workload. He’s done that.

Next question was does he have the ability to increase his velocity. For the Yankees he could touch 96-97 but his resting heartbeat if you will on his heater was 93-94. He of course did so during the prospect dead period and it’s to the benefit of the Pirates, because if he had shown that or his spin rate of 2400-2500 RPMs there’s a solid chance he isn’t added to the Taillon deal.

Point is, Contreras is better right now than any of his scouting reports would have you believe he had in him. The best projection I found had him listed as topping out around the back end of a rotation, and it’s really hard to watch him pitch and believe that’s still his ceiling.

I’ve seen a ton of people calling for his immediate promotion to AAA Indianapolis, others have even started saying he’s being slow walked by the Pirates.

Now, how you call a kid with under 20 innings completed in a level of baseball brand new to him held back is a mystery to me. You can think he’s ready and still not believe he’s being stifled.

So, is he ready? I mean, maybe. I don’t see him getting crushed in AAA, he probably could do just fine there, but moves as with the big club don’t come in isolation. We first have to look at what’s going on in both MLB and AAA, because promotions won’t come without a corresponding demotion or promotion.

The Indians have a 6 man rotation going on, Cody Ponce who was just called up for a spot start in Pittsburgh, Miguel Yajure who is probably the first guy who will make the permanent jump to the bigs, Chase De Jong a veteran, Beau Sulser, James Marvel and Steven Wright. Now, let’s be honest here, Sulser and Marvel aren’t really threatening to make the jump anytime soon. Wright was a flyer taken on a 36 year old knuckleballer.

The Pirates could make room right now if they so chose, but a shuffling of the deck chairs is coming in MLB as well. In fact with Chad Kuhl, Jose Soriano and Steven Brault all making their way back up, they may already have to move a Wil Crowe or Mitch Keller (although I’d prefer they stay the course here) back down to accommodate room.

You will often hear scouts say they want to see a good half season from prospects before a promotion, and I’m not here to tell you that’s gospel, lord knows everything that baseball lifers believe doesn’t jive with the modern game, but for the most part, a step up needs to come with a well defined map of the foot holds and hand grips to keep him there.

Is three games enough for that? Maybe, but maybe it’s ok to let him just continue to work where he is until the parent club starts burning through more of the excess arms Ben Cherington brought in here in the first place before they do so.

I’m starting to feel like a bunch of people forgot how the minor leagues work after so many players earned promotion via their work at the alternate training sites last year. Partially because it was fairly forced into existence baseball people have talked themselves into believing what happened at those sites was akin to a full season of play, I guess for some that will be true, for others it won’t be, but again until the Pirates make some inevitable trades or decide players like Wright have no place in the organization Roansy is fine where he is.

Come late June or Early July, we’ll revisit this I’d imagine. By then he’ll most likely have had a game or two that showed some dings in his armor but he should still be very much so on track.

This isn’t a Huntington slow walk, not yet. Right now it’s a testament to just how much pitching Cherington brought in after only two off-season’s of work.

Calm down a bit, let the process play out. 17.2 innings isn’t enough to evaluate anyone, even with a .56 WHIP.

Published by Gary Morgan

Former contributor for Inside the Pirates an SI Team Channel

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