Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: JT Brubaker Off To A Hot Start At Triple-A


The Pittsburgh Pirates 2018 Minor League Pitcher of the Year is off to a hot start at the Triple-A level this season

When people think of Pittsburgh Pirates pitching prospects the first player that often times comes to mind is Mitch Keller. This is for good reason as Keller is not only the team’s top pitching prospect, but also one of the top prospects in all of baseball. While people continue to talk about the potential and future of Keller, a pitch that is often times overlooked is JT Brubaker.

In 2018, it was Brubaker, not Keller, that was named the organization’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year. This came after Brubaker posted a 2.81 ERA, 3.38 FIP, a 6.8% walk rate, and a 20.3% strikeout rate in 154 innings pitched. These 154 innings came in a combined 28 starts between Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis.

So far in 2019, Brubaker has picked up where he left off at in 2018.

Through his first three starts for the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians this season Brubaker owns a 1.69 ERA and a 2.95 FIP in 16 innings pitched. He’s allowed 15 hits, no home runs, and hw owns a 4.6% walk rate and a 23.1% strikeout rate.

Brubaker has also posted a healthy 61.4% ground ball rate thus far for the Indians. His ability to induce groundballs is a big reason why he has not allowed a home run this season. A strong groundball rate can also help a pitcher in run prevention as groundballs not only can turn into double plays, but they are also less likely to go for extra bases than a fly ball is.

As the 2019 season progresses Brubaker will be an intriguing arm to keep an eye on. If the Pirates need a starting pitcher before they deem Keller is ready, it would likely be Brubaker. He could also be a bullpen option for the Pirates at some point this season. Regardless of his role, Brubaker has a big future with the Pirates.

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Prior to the start of the 2019 season, seeing Brubaker in Pittsburgh at some point this summer appeared to be more of a question of when than if. His hot start to the 2019 season has only further solidified this belief.