The Pittsburgh Pirates are very likely to be battling to stay out of last place in the National League Central division in 2023.
But there are some intriguing pieces to keep an eye on this spring as the team looks to take a few steps towards relevance.
One such piece is All-Star closer David Bednar.
The right-hander had a strong season in 2022, posting an ERA of 2.61 and saving 19 games as Pittsburgh’s closer.
And he’s already throwing gas this spring.
On Twitter, the Pirates posted a quick clip of their star closer throwing to hitters for the first time this spring, showing just how electric his stuff can be.
Comin' atcha live from Pirate City pic.twitter.com/jv3JCjCvtm
— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) February 20, 2023
The 28-year-old made his MLB debut in 2019 with the San Diego Padres, appearing in just 13 games.
He appeared in only four games during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.
The following offseason, he was traded to Pittsburgh in the deal that sent Joe Musgrove back to San Diego.
Since his arrival in Pittsburgh, Bednar has been one of the most dominant relievers in the league.
In 2021, he posted a 2.23 ERA over 61 appearances and 60.2 innings of work.
Last season, he pitched 51.2 innings.
But it’s clear that the Pirates have something special in Bednar and that he could be a key piece as they continue to build towards the future along with players such as Oneil Cruz, Mitch Keller, JT Brubaker, Jack Suwinski, and Ke’Bryan Hayes.
The Pirates lost 100 games in 2022 and finished tied with the Cincinnati Reds at the bottom of the NL Central, 31 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals.NEXT: Pirates Insider Notes A Key Veteran Presence