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Pirates Spring Training who’s who: Left-handed pitchers

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MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Next up are the LHPs. As we’ve discussed at length, trades could change this picture a lot. Currently, the Pirates won’t have a LHP in the rotation, unless Steven Brault wins a spot. Of course, they’re trying to acquire Jose Quintana. Conversely, the bullpen currently sports five lefties, but the Pirates are hoping to trade Tony Watson and/or Antonio Bastardo. I’ll update this with any developments.

40-Man Roster

Antonio Bastardo (No. 59)
Steven Brault (43)
Wade LeBlanc (38)
Felipe Rivero (73)
Tony Watson (44)

Tyler Webb (51): Webb, of course, was the Pirates’ Rule 5 pick from their AAA affiliate the Yankees. He comes with pretty good, but not overwhelming, stuff for a lefty, along with a nice K/9 of 11.1 in his minor league career. That goes with a career 3.48 ERA and 1.18 WHIP, and a history of being very tough on left-handed hitters. His chances of sticking may depend on whether the Pirates trade a lefty or two.

Non-Roster Invites

Cody Dickson (84): A fourth-round draft pick back in 2013, Dickson has always had solid stuff for a lefty but very shaky command. His 2016 showing at Altoona was a good indicator: He somehow managed a 3.66 ERA despite a 1.57 WHIP and nearly as many walks (6.0 BB/9, easily leading the league in walks) as strikeouts (6.8). He’ll probably be among the early cuts and is likely to head back to AA.

Jared Lakind (80): Drafted way back in 2010 as a first baseman, Lakind moved to the mound in 2013. He didn’t pitch very much due to injuries and had never appeared above low A until the Pirates jumped him up to AA in 2016, but he had a good year, with a 2.59 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 8.5 K/9. His stuff is similar to Webb’s; low-90s fastball and good breaking ball. The Pirates re-signed him to a minor league deal for 2017 to keep him from becoming a free agent. He’ll probably be battling more for a spot in the AAA bullpen than the Pirates’ bullpen.

Dan Runzler (70): Runzler is a fairly standard veteran flier. His fastball averages 95 mph and he misses a lot of bats, but he’s always had control problems. He actually had some major league success with the Giants in 2010, but he didn’t stick. In 2013, his control really went south and he’s walked 6-7 per nine innings ever since. He ended up in independent ball for part of 2016. He probably has no realistic chance of making the major league roster.