With MLB Spring Training set to begin when pitchers and catchers report in less than six weeks, the Pittsburgh Pirates and Indianapolis Indians are gearing up for the beginning of their respective seasons at the end of March.
Preparations for a successful 2023 season began in November, as the Pirates have continued to improve both the major league roster and that of their Triple-A club through various moves made throughout the winter.
From trades, waiver claims and free-agent signings to the effects of the Rule 5 Draft on the organization, the Indians’ 2023 Opening Day roster is beginning to take shape.
40-Man Roster Additions
On Nov. 15, the Pirates added C Endy Rodriguez, OF Jared Triolo and RHPs Mike Burrows and Colin Selby to their 40-man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft. Rodriguez and Burrows are both listed among Pittsburgh’s top 10 prospects in Baseball America’s preseason rankings. Former Indians RHPs Junior Fernandez (Yankees to Blue Jays) and Jeremy Beasley (released) were two of four players designated for assignment in corresponding moves.
Rodriguez, 22, made the jump from High-A Greensboro to Indianapolis over the course of the 2022 season. He was named the South Atlantic League MVP following his campaign and led all Pirates farmhands (MiLB ranking) with a .323 average, .407 on-base percentage, .590 slugging percentage (8th), .997 OPS (5th), 148 hits, 92 runs, 39 doubles (T-6th), 95 RBI, 68 extra-base hits (T-8th) and 270 total bases (T-9th). He enters the 2023 campaign as Pittsburgh’s No. 1 overall prospect.
Burrows, 23, made 12 appearances (10 starts) with Indianapolis in 2022 and earned a spot on the National League team for the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game in July. He stunned in 12 Double-A starts (4-2, 2.94 ERA [17er/52.0ip], 69 strikeouts) before a mid-June promotion to Indianapolis, where he went 1-4 with a 5.31 ERA (25er/42.1ip) and 42 strikeouts. He checks in as the Pirates’ No. 9 prospect ahead of the 2023 season.
Rule 5 Draft
The offseason shifted into full gear with the annual MLB Winter Meetings in San Diego, Calif., and the Rule 5 Draft on Dec. 7. The Pirates selected LHP Jose Hernandez from Los Angeles (NL) as the third pick in the major league phase, a reliever who reached Double-A in 2022 and must be added to their active, 26-man roster to open 2023.
The Pirates’ other two acquisitions from the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft…