Pittsburgh Pirates: Potential Pitchers for the Final Rotation Spot

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Pittsburgh Pirates
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

Right-handed pitcher JT Brubaker has pitched successfully as a starting pitcher in the Majors. In fact, he did just that last season. Opposing batters hit for an average exit velocity off of Brubaker of 87.1 MPH, which was below MLB average. The hard hit rate was at 32.8%, which needs to improve, and his xFIP was 4.14, which is a little too high for my taste. Despite being 27, this will just be Brubaker’s second season in the Majors, and honestly, I’m not sure how to feel about that.

Brubaker has shown flashes of brilliance, like in his debut against the Cardinals, where he struck out four in 2 innings of work. In this outing, he showcased his plus slider. Overall, Brubaker finished the season with a 4.94 ERA, 4.08 FIP, 8.3% walk rate and a 23.4% strikeout rate.

To be honest with you, I like Brubaker better in the bullpen as a setup guy or possibly a long reliever, but I will admit Brubaker very well could be a starter. He and Crowe are the two front runners, in my opinion.

If Brubaker can maintain his command and continue that very good strikeout rate of 23.4%, we could be seeing him out there every 5th day until a certain pitcher or two is called up. (I’m saving those names for later.)