Between now and late August the Pittsburgh Pirates will only need four starting pitchers. With Tyler Glasnow on the disabled list, who should be their fourth starter?
The Pittsburgh Pirates, still, have question marks in their starting rotation. Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon, and Francisco Liriano have spots locked in the Pirate rotation. However, after these three things start to get murky.
Prior to Saturday, it appeared the pictures around the Pittsburgh Pirates starting rotation was starting to become clear. However, after his poor start on Saturday right-handed pitcher Tyler Glasnow was placed on the disabled list. This now leaves the Pittsburgh Pirates searching for a fourth starter.
The reason the Pittsburgh Pirates need to search for a fourth starter right now, and not a fifth, is due to a favorable schedule. Due to off days, the Pirates will not need a fifth starter again until August 6th. After this, the Pirates will not need a fifth starter again until August 13th and they will not need a fifth starter on a full-time basis again until August 22nd.
By the time that August 13th start rolls around Tyler Glasnow could be back from the disabled list, and he will certainly be back by the August 22nd start. So, the Pirates will essentially just need a spot starter on August 6th. For this August 6th start, they could always turn to whomever is slated to start for Triple-A Indianapolis that day.
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The easy choice for the fourth starter would be right-handed pitcher Chad Kuhl. Kuhl has made four starts in the Major Leagues for the Pittsburgh Pirates this season, and has 4.07 FIP in 19 1/3 innings pitched in those four starts. However, Kuhl left his start at Triple-A on Saturday and appears to be on his way to the Minor League disabled list. Due to this, things become more difficult for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Even though not all of them are the best options, the Pittsburgh Pirates have multiple options for this fourth spot in their starting rotation. The Pirates can always stick with Jeff Locke who has been in the starting rotation all season long, remove Jon Niese from the bullpen and put him back into the starting rotation, or activate Ryan Vogelsong off the disabled list and go with the veteran right-handed pitcher. However, I would not go with any of these three. Instead, I would go with Steven Brault.
Steven Brault has been fantastic for Triple-A Indianapolis this season. Despite missing time due to a calf injury, Brault has posted a 2.15 ERA and a 2.47 FIP in 50 1/3 innings pitched. In those 50 1/3 innings pitched Brault is averaging 11.80 K/9, 3.93 BB/9, 0.36 HR/9, and he has a WHIP of 1.25. It is time for Steven Brault to be in the Pittsburgh Pirates rotation.
Steven Brault has also made one start for the Pittsburgh Pirates this season. On July 5th Brault started against the St. Louis Cardinals, and allowed just one earned run in four innings pitched. Brault allowed four hits, two walks, and he struck out five batters in those four innings pitched.
Out of all the Pirates’ options to be a mainstay in the rotation moving forward, Steven Brault has the best stuff. Furthermore, Brault is also a left-handed pitcher. For this reason, his stuff should play even better at PNC Park.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are only going to need four starting pitchers for most of next month. This starting pitcher should be Steven Brault. At least until Tyler Glasnow returns from the disabled list, and maybe even after that, Steven Brault should be in the Pittsburgh Pirates starting rotation.