In anticipation of tonight’s game with the Milwaukee Brewers, the Pittsburgh Pirates have promoted left-handed starting pitcher Steven Brault.
Following the Pittsburgh Pirates 10-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday night, manager Clint Hurdle announced that Steven Brault would start for the team against the Brewers on Friday night. So, everyone knew that the Pittsburgh Pirates would have to make some sort of roster move to make room for Steven Brault on the 25-man roster today. Well, that roster move has been announced.
To make room for Steven Brault on the 25-man roster the Pittsburgh Pirates optioned reliever A.J. Schugel to Triple-A Indianapolis. This is the second time in the last week Schugel has been optioned to Triple-A. Last Saturday, the Pittsburgh Pirates optioned Schugel to Triple-A to make room on the 25-man roster for Tyler Glasnow. However, Schugel returned the following day when Glasnow went on the disabled list.
Just as it was when the Pittsburgh Pirates optioned A.J. Schugel to Triple-A last Saturday, optioning Schugel is the wrong. Schugel has been extremely reliable, and effective, out of the Pirate bullpen this season. In 49 innings pitched this season Schugel has a 3.86 ERA, 3.30 FIP, 3.83 xFIP, a 1.08 WHIP, and he is averaging 7.90 K/9 and 2.39 BB/9.
Instead of optioning Schugel, the Pittsburgh Pirates should have designated Jon Niese for assignment or optioned Jared Hughes to Triple-A. Personally, I would have optioned Hughes. Jared Hughes still has options left and has been terrible this season.
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In 34 innings pitched this year, Jared Hughes is having the worst season if his career. He has a career worst 4.79 FIP, and his career high 5.35 xFIP indicates his future performance will only get worse. He is averaging a career low 4.50 K/9, a career high 3.71 BB/9, and his ground ball rate is a career low 50.9 percent.
Anyway, enough with my complaining let’s take a look at Steven Brault. Tonight will be Brault’s second career Major League start. His first came against the St. Louis Cardinals on July 5th when Brault allowed one earned run on four hits, two walks, and five punch outs in four innings pitched. Brault got a no decision, but the Pittsburgh Pirates picked up a win.
At Triple-A this season Steven Brault has been lights out. He is averaging 11.80 K/9, 3.93 BB/9, 0.36 HR/9, and he has a 1.25 WHIP in 50 1/3 innings pitched. As a result of these numbers, Brault posted a 2.15 ERA and a 2.45 FIP at Triple-A. Hopefully, if he pitches well, Steven Brault will now be in the Major Leagues to stay.
Steven Brault will have his work cut out for him tonight. Not because of the Milwaukee Brewers having a great lineup or anything like that, but because of the starting pitcher he will be opposite. Junior Guerra will get the ball for the Brewers, and he has been fantastic this season posting a 2.85 ERA and 3.79 FIP in 94 2/3 innings pitched. This includes Guerra allowing two runs on three hits, while striking out six, in a six inning start against the Pirates on July 19th.
Unfortunately, the Pittsburgh Pirates continue to fail to field their best possible team. Not only is Josh Bell in Triple-A when he should be in the Major Leagues, A.J. Schugel has now joined him in Indianapolis. Hopefully, the Pirates grow tired of Jared Hughes soon and dump him for Schugel.