Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: JT Brubaker AAA Debut

(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

The Pittsburgh Pirates promoted right handed starter JT Brubaker to Triple-A.  He had a very strong start of the season in Double-A.  How did he fair in his Triple-A début?

The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted JT Brubaker in 2015 with the assumption that he was a developmental prospect.  While he pitched at a division one college, it was Akron, a smaller school.  He had strong strikeout numbers there, but obviously some work to do to pitch against higher level competition.  Also, he was the prototypical mold that the Pittsburgh Pirates look for, big framed at 6’4” and room to grow out, weighing around 180 pounds.

Brubaker has put together a solid minor league career in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.  His career so far gives him an ERA of 3.81 in 74 games, 72 of which are starts.  Across those starts he has thrown 373.2 innings with 315 strikeouts and 112 walks.  While these are solid numbers, they are not overly impressive.  So why is he such an intriguing prospect that just made his Triple-A début?


The former Akron Zip really came onto the scene when he was a standout in last year’s Arizona Fall League. He carried over his strong success to this season, and he looks to have developed into a legit big league rotation prospect. In Double-A this year, he made six starts and threw a total of 35 innings.  In those innings the big righty has punched out 35 batters while only walking eight.  Opposing hitters only posted a .218 batting average against him which is good for a WHIP of 1.06.  Furthermore, he was producing ground balls at a 63% rate, very well above average.

AAA Debut

With the Double-A staff being dominant, it was only a matter of time until one of the arms was promoted to Triple-A.  Brubaker got the call before everyone on the staff.  He made his Indianapolis début last night.  The Indians faced off against the Louisville Bats of the Cincinnati Reds’ organization. He had an impressive début throwing six scoreless innings.  While he only struck out two hitters, he limited the Bats to seven base runners including one base on balls.  While he was not overly dominant, he still threw six scoreless innings, which is impressive no matter how it is done.

Next: Next Top Catching Prospect?

Brubaker moving to Triple-A is interesting.  Of the five starters in Altoona, Brubaker is likely the most surprising to be promoted.  Top prospects like Mitch Keller, and even Taylor Hearn, are the notables ones that people would have expected . While Dario Agrazal is a little older for Double-A, and Brandon Waddell has moved quickly through the system since being a fifth round pick in 2015.  Still, Brubaker got the call and showed he was ready in his Triple-A début.