What changes did left-handed pitcher Steven Brault make this offseason?
One of the Pittsburgh Pirates players at Pirate Fest yesterday was left-handed pitcher Steven Brault. At Pirate Fest, Brault met with the media to discuss his offseason. Coming off his third MLB season in which he pitched a career high 91 2/3 innings, Brault spent the offseason looking for ways to refine his craft. What changes did the 26-year-old lefty make in preparation for the 2019 season?
One change Brault made was to begin a 12 month throwing program. With his, he will not have any time off from throwing during the calendar year. This can help a pitcher with repeating their delivery and avoid rust. However, they also need to avoid the risk of overdoing it and putting too much of a workload on their arm.
Brault told reporters that another reason he did this was to work on improving his control. Control is an area where Brault needs to improve. Last season Brault had a healthy 19.9% strikeout rate, and his HR/9 is less than 1.00 each of the past two seasons.
However, Brault’s issues have always revolved around his control. During his three-year MLB career Brault owns an 11.9% walk rate. Last season, it was a career worst 13.8%. Brault’s number one concern at this point in his career needs to be improved control, so, hopefully, his offseason changes can help to rectify this problem.
Brault also made changes to his delivery.
Changing his arm angle can help to make his pitches more difficult for opposing hitters to pick up by adding deception to his delivery. Shortening his arm path could add velocity to his fastball. Even if it does not, it could create the illusion of additional velocity on his pitches. Doing this could cause the ball to ‘burst’ out of his hand and sneak up on hitters.
Brault is out of minor league options. Due to this, the odds of him making the team out of Spring Training are close to 100%. Even if he were not out of options, Brault would have a good shot at being on the Opening Day roster.
Outside of a short stint at the Triple-A level in August, Brault spent the entirety of the 2019 season at the MLB level. He can pitch in multiple roles for the Pirates and he dominated left-handed hitters last season. If the changes he made this offseason can help Brault clean up his delivery, then he could be a strong bullpen option for the team in 2019.