Next up for the Pittsburgh Pirates top 30 prospects 2019 season rewinds is a starting pitcher who had an injury riddled season
Brubaker had a strong season in the minor leagues in 2018. In fact, his performance led to him being named the Pirates 2018 Minor League Pitcher of the Year. He then started the 2019 season at the Triple-A level and on the doorstep of the MLB level.
Prior to the start of the 2019 season Brubaker appeared to be a slam dunk to make his MLB debut at some point during the season. After a strong start to the Triple-A season Brubaker appeared to forcing his way into the MLB starting rotation. However, this is where arm issues started to get in the way.
Brubaker made just four starts for the Indianapolis Indians this season. In those four starts he posted a 2.57 ERA and a 3.96 FIP in 21 innings of work. He allowed just two home runs, walked 4.7% of the batters he faced, struck out 23.3%, and limited opposing batters to a .241 batting average.
After being shut down in late April, Brubaker made a pair of starts with High-A Bradenton in June. In these two starts Brubaker allowed 2 runs on five hits, four walks, four strikeouts, and no home runs in 6 2/3 innings of work. However, after these two starts he was shut down once again with a forearm strain.
Prior to the end of the season Brubaker was able to return to the mound. Best of all, he was doing it pain free. This should set Brubaker up to have a normal off-season throwing program.
With the amount of injuries and ineffectiveness the Pirate pitching staff battled in 2019, if not for injury, Brubaker may have spent a majority of the season in the Pirates’ starting rotation. Unfortunately for Brubaker and the Pirates, this was not the case. Hopefully Brubaker can have a strong off-season, get healthy and enter Spring Training ready to compete and make an impact for the Pirates in 2020.