Pittsburgh Pirates: Three Players Impressing This Spring
Starting pitcher JT Brubaker
Last season JT Brubaker was a but of a workhorse for the Pittsburgh Pirates. After earning an Opening Day start with the team, Brubaker went on to make 28 starts and pitch 144 innings, both of which were seocnd only to Mitch Keller.
Injuries did impact Brubaker's season some. He spent time on the injured list in September, which contributed to him lasting just 2.2 innings in his final start of the season. Brubaker struggled in his first start of the season, he was burnt by poor defense in his second start, and in his final start, when he should have just remained on the IL after missing the previous three weeks, he struggled as well.
In those 25 starts in between Brubaker posted a 4.30 ERA and a 3.84 FIP while averaging nearly 6 innings per start, more than good enough for a back of the rotation arm. This season, Brubaker will be looking to take a step forward and put together consistency across the entire season.
Well, so far this spring Brubaker's stuff appears to be experiencing a bit of an uptick. He has made three Grapefruit League starts thus far and has pitched 8.0 innings. He's allowed two home runs, walked just two batters, and has struck out 15.
Brubaker's 15 strikeouts is the second most in the Grapefruit League. His fastball is moving well and his slider looks crips with great bite. His curveball has been working well, too. If this version of Brubaker's stuff carries over into the regular season, he will have a successful one for the Pirates.