Pirates announce 2024 Opening Day roster

March 28th, 2024

MIAMI -- The Pirates wanted this to be a Spring Training of competition. What came from it is a very different looking roster from a year ago.

Before their Opening Day game against the Marlins on Thursday, the Bucs announced their 26-man roster.

Catcher (2): ,
Davis had to earn his keep this spring, but he showed that his offseason of defensive work was worth it, improving considerably with the glove. Delay got his second Opening Day nod as the backup catcher since Yasmani Grandal will start on the injured list.

First baseman (2): ,
Tellez is coming out of spring healthy, and the team is hoping he will look closer to his form of 2022, when he hit 35 homers, rather than 2023 when his OPS dropped 100 points to .667. Joe provides a right-handed option for when the Pirates face lefty starters and can also play the outfield.

Second baseman (1):
Triolo is the victor of the Spring Training second base competition, edging out Liover Peguero and Nick Gonzales while Ji Hwan Bae starts the year on the injured list. Triolo recorded a .310 batting average with two home runs and an .883 OPS this spring, continuing his hot finish from the 2023 season.

Shortstop (1):
Cruz looks healthy and hit seven home runs this spring, tied for the fourth-most in Pirates Spring Training history. His main goal is to remain healthy this year. If he does that, he has the potential to do great things on the field.

Third baseman (1):
Hayes finally got his Gold Glove last year. Now it’s time to see if he can show if his second-half strides at the plate last year were genuine. A .412 batting average, 21 hits and three homers this spring certainly support that.

Outfielders (3): , ,
The late addition of Taylor does cause some musical chairs in the outfield, with Suwinski set to get the majority of the reps in left field while Reynolds moves from left to right field. Both parties are fine with the change, and it certainly helps to add one of the premier outfield defenders to the mix.

DH (1):
McCutchen will get some reps in the outfield, but he’s a DH-first now.

Bench (2): ,
Olivares came out on top in a competition for the backup outfield spot, giving manager Derek Shelton a right-handed option with some pop off the bench. The team wanted Peguero to get regular at-bats in the Minors, which opened the door for Williams to be the backup infielder while Bae is on the mend.

Starting pitchers (5): , , , ,
The final two rotation spots went to Jones and Falter. Jones was the darling of this Spring Training, recording 16 1/3 innings without allowing an earned run. The team’s No. 3 prospect wasn’t initially seen as a favorite for the job, but his growth over the winter, his stellar results plus the work he did between starts forced the Pirates’ hand. 2023 All-Star Keller will lead the rotation for the second straight year, followed by a trio of lefties. Pérez had quite the spring as well as he tries to reestablish himself as a starter, striking out 16 over 15 innings of 0.60 ERA ball.

Bullpen (8): , , , , , , ,
Ryan and Stratton both get nods since Colin Holderman and Carmen Mlodzinski started the year on the injured list. The door is not closed on Contreras and Ortiz starting again in the future, but they will be deployed out of the bullpen for now, with Ortiz being more of a bulk guy. Fleming is a ground-ball specialist who will be moving to the bullpen for the first time in his career, while Borucki has a knack for getting lefties out. The bullpen was supposed to have a vaunted backend, but it’s a little thinner without Holderman, Mlodzinski and Dauri Moreta, who will miss the season after UCL surgery. Still, Chapman to Bednar in the eighth and ninth could be one of the best late-inning combos in the game. The Pirates are certainly banking on that being the case, at least.

With right-hander going on paternity leave, Hernandez was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis to take Contreras’ place on the 26-man roster.