Pittsburgh Pirates: Four Pitchers With Breakout Potential

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 27: JT Brubaker #65 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches during the game against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on September 27, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 27: JT Brubaker #65 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches during the game against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on September 27, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /
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Sep 27, 2020; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher JT Brubaker (65) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Dermer-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 27, 2020; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher JT Brubaker (65) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Dermer-USA TODAY Sports /

JT Brubaker

JT Brubaker would have made his debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2019 had it not been for injuries that kept him out for the majority of the season. Finally, Brubaker got to face MLB hitters in 2020.

Brubaker served mainly as a starting pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates where he had a 4.94 ERA, 4.08 FIP and 1.37 WHIP in 47.1 innings of work. Brubaker’s ERA predictors were overall average with a 4.14 xFIP, 4.28 SIERA and 4.51 DRA.

Brubaker showed some solid strikeout stuff posting a 23.4% strikeout rate. He put up a solid walk rate of 8.3%, and his HR/9 sat at 1.14. Overall, not bad numbers but nothing out super impressive.

What is more impressive is his five-pitch mix. Brubaker’s best pitch is his curveball which sits in the top 87th percentile of spin rate at 2857 RPM. His slider also has a decent amount of spin with 2634 RPM. His primary pitch is a sinker, but he also throws a fastball, four-seamer and change up.

What Brubaker’s role with the Pittsburgh Pirates is long term is still fairly undecided. He looked extremely impressive out of the pen. While it was just 5 innings, Brubaker struck out seven of the 20 batters he faced, showing some extremely impressive movement. Out of the rotation, he had a few solid outings, but looked way better out of the ‘pen. Still, given his above average hard hit rate and exit velocity and spin rates, I think Brubaker could be a pitcher to watch in 2021.

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