On January 27th of 2015 the Pirates sent Travis Snider to the Baltimore Orioles for two young left-handed pitching prospects in Stephen Tarpley and Steven Brault. Brault was named as the player to be named later on February 20th of 2015. Brault had strong first season with the Pirates. With putting together such a strong year last year, he has really made the Pirates front office look like geniuses for trading Snider. Not only did the Bucs resign Snider last year, but they got two good pitching prospects with being Brault who could be close to MLB ready this year.
Brault grew up in California, but went to college in California to Regis University. He was an 11th round pick for the Orioles in 2013. Brault is 6’1” and 190lbs, which is up from when he was drafted when he was 170lbs. Last season he spent 13 starts in High-A Bradenton and threw 15 games in AA Altoona. A little more on Brault as a pitcher. He pitches to contact, he honestly reminds me a lot of Mark Buehrle. Brault’s fastball sits about 88-91 mph and is
considered a sinking fastball. He has a 3 other pitches which include a plus slider and a plus change-up which is always important for a pitcher in the Buc’s system. His curve-ball is considered his worst offering, but he can locate it and is a good pitch to break rhythm and throw off hitters timing.
Brault was never highly touted by any means, but his first year he posted a strong 2.09 ERA. This got Brault noticed somewhat. The next season he put up another strong season between Low and High A. Between the two levels Brault posted a 2.77 ERA. When he was shipped to the Bucs the next year he was rated as their #25 prospect. In his 28 starts between the two levels, Brault threw to a 2.43 ERA with a 1.12 WHIP and held batters to a .229 batting
average. One note is he only struck out 125 batters in a combined 155 innings. In his career, Brault, has struck out 3.5 batters for every one walk. This number is considered to be very strong, and once again shows that Brault possesses strong command of his pitches. If he can continue with that command to the big leagues, he will not have to worry about striking a lot of guys out, but rather just pitching to contact. He is not a big strike out pitcher, and will never be one. That does not mean he cannot have success, as the Pirates love pitch-to-contact pitchers.
Yesterday we saw Brault start against CC Sabathia and the Bronx Bombers. After a strong 1-2-3 first innings, the Bombers started hit Brault around. In the 2nd innings Beltran hit a two run homer off him, this was followed up by a Starlin Castro RBI double. Brault only made it through 3 innings, giving up 5 runs (4 earned) while walking one and no strike outs. A little disappointing for the young prospect, but you would have to imagine he was probably a tad nervous. Also, this is by no means a strong representation of what he can be. As I mentioned above I see similarities between Brault and Buehrle. If Brault continues with his dominant control, tacks some to his fastball, and his other pitches continue to develop, I think this is a really possibility to reach the “Buehrle Ceiling”. What this would mean is that I think Brault could pass as a decent number two start, but would really project well as a strong left-handed number 3 starter. If he can become this the Pirates could be looking at a strong, long-term, lefty pitcher for the years to come. Look for Brault to join AAA Indianapolis to start the year.