Yesterday the Pittsburgh Pirates promoted right-handed relief pitcher Dovydas Neverauskas to the major league roster. He pitched two innings out of the bullpen against the Chicago Cubs in his debut, allowing two hits and a run while fanning one batter. What else can be expected? Let’s take a look.
The Pirates signed Neverauskas out of Lithuania in 2009 for $60,000. He was a mediocre starting pitcher at the lower levels but moved to the bullpen in 2015 and has steadily improved since, posting a 3.10 ERA in 58 innings between Double-A and Triple-A in 2016 with a 56/22 K/BB and earning a spot on the 40-man roster last fall.
He earned a Grade C+ grade heading into the 2017 season, outside the pre-season Pirates Top 20 prospects but ranked somewhere between 21 and 25th in the system.
Neverauskas is a 6-3, 215 pound right-hander born January 14th, 1993. As a starter he worked with a low-90s fastball but in the bullpen that’s up to 94-98 MPH, including in his debut last night when he averaged 97. He mixes in an 87-90 MPH slider and will occasionally drop in a low-80s curveball. It is a classic middle relief profile and I don’t see any reason why he can’t be at least average in the role.