Pirates supervisor Derek Shelton advised reporters, together with Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Submit-Gazette, this afternoon that right-handers Mitch Keller and Roansy Contreras wouldn’t pitch once more this 12 months, as each gamers have been shut down for the rest of the 2023 marketing campaign. With the Pirates properly outdoors the playoff image and simply three video games remaining on the membership’s schedule after right this moment, the information isn’t a serious shock, although it’s value noting that Keller was in any other case lined as much as take the ball for the membership’s closing recreation of the season in opposition to the Marlins.
The information formally brings to an finish what has been a powerful marketing campaign for Keller, who sits atop Pittsburgh’s beginning rotation. The previous second-round choose struggled badly by the primary three seasons of his huge league profession, with a 6.02 ERA that was 28% worse than league common by measure of ERA+ with a 4.30 FIP in 170 1/3 innings of labor (39 begins). Issues started to show round for Keller final season, nevertheless, as he posted a strong 3.91 ERA (104 ERA+) with a 3.88 FIP in 159 innings of labor. Whereas Keller’s 20.1% strikeout price and eight.7% stroll price final 12 months didn’t precisely bounce off the web page, he did generate a formidable 49% groundball price in 2022.
Regardless of it being his fifth season as an enormous leaguer, Keller was nonetheless simply 27 years outdated headed into the 2023 and seemed to be within the midst of a breakout marketing campaign for a lot of the season. Whereas his 2023 started with a four-run, 4 2/3 inning clunker in opposition to the Reds, Keller fired off 9 consecutive begins with three earned runs or fewers allowed, together with a complete-game shutout of the Rockies and a 13-strikeout recreation in opposition to the Orioles the place he posted seven scoreless innings.
Keller’s sturdy begin to the season earned him his first profession All Star look, and he headed into the break with a formidable season within the works: throughout nineteen begins earlier than the Midsummer Traditional, Keller had a 3.31 ERA and almost matching 3.32 FIP in 117 innings of labor with a 26.7% strikeout price in opposition to a stroll price of simply 7%. Sadly for Keller, his excellence wouldn’t proceed into the second half. Over his closing 13 begins, Keller mustered only a 5.59 ERA with a 4.52 FIP in 77 1/3 innings of labor, along with his strikeout price throughout that point dipping to 23.8%.
The late-season struggles introduced Keller’s closing line for the 2023 season consistent with his 2022 marketing campaign, albeit with extra innings: in 32 begins (194 1/3 innings), Keller posted a 4.21 ERA (105 ERA+) with a 3.80 FIP. Nonetheless, if Keller can replicate his sturdy begin to the 2022 marketing campaign subsequent 12 months, Pirates followers have loads of purpose for pleasure in regards to the 27-year-old righty’s future. Keller is arbitration-eligible this offseason and received’t be a free agent till the 2025-26 offseason.
Contreras, then again, did not construct on a strong 2022 marketing campaign the place he posted a 3.79 ERA and 4.38 FIP in 95 innings of labor. The 23-year-old righty struggled badly in 2023, with a brutal 6.59 ERA with a 5.19 FIP in 68 1/3 innings of labor with a strikeout price of simply 18.2%. The teenager’s struggles resulted in him being demoted from the rotation in late Could and spending a portion of the 12 months on the Triple-A degree, the place he equally struggled to a 4.96 ERA throughout 32 2/3 innings. Given Contreras’s pronounced struggles this season, it appears affordable to count on the previous top-100 prospect to enter camp subsequent 12 months on the skin wanting in with reference to the membership’s rotation plans, although given his youth and former success he ought to nonetheless issue into the membership’s pitching combine a method or one other.