Is Brandon Cumpton Here to Stay?


After a successful start in New York on Monday, it’s safe to say Pirates starting pitcher Brandon Cumpton deserves a spot in the Bucs starting rotation. While there’s no guarantees when looking at his track record, Cumpton has done absolutely everything the Pirates have asked him to over the past two seasons, and I think it’s time the 25-year old gets an extended opportunity in the big leagues.

May 26, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Brandon Cumpton (58) pitches against the New York Mets during the first inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Since being called up last June, Cumpton has started eight games for the Pirates, and posted an impressive 2.55 ERA over that span. The majority of his starts have been spot starts for either struggling or injured pitchers, and I think Cumpton has done all he has to do to lock up the fifth spot in the rotation for the time being.

With Wandy Rodriguez now out of the picture, the spot is there for Cumpton to claim, it’s just whether or not the Pirates management are ready to give it to him. Personally, I don’t see why not.

Other pitchers still remain in the mix, as the Bucs have Jeff Locke and Casey Sadler waiting for the call in Indianapolis. Sure, there’s absolutely room for improvement for the right-hander, and it’d be nice to see him go a little deeper into his starts. Throughout his first eight starts, it looks like Cumpton is able to cruise through the first five innings of his outings, but once the sixth inning rolls around, things get rough for him.

As the chief Tom Smith said last week: “Many have said that Cumpton deserved a spot in the rotation out of spring training and now looking at it, the argument seems to make a great deal of sense.” Tom is right, as Cumpton’s last start in New York helped his status with the team, when he pitched six innings of two-run ball.

Looking at it now, Cumpton has absolutely earned his chance with the Pirates. No more spot starts. Keep him in the show and give him the opportunity to pitch every five or six days for the Bucs. There’s no question that Cumpton is trying to prove to the organization that he’s for real, and I’m not really sure what else he has to do to be on that level. Since his first career start last June, Cumpton has bounced between Indianapolis and Pittsburgh six times. It’s time to give that a rest, and let us see what the 25-year old can do with a real opportunity.