When the Pirates announced yesterday that pitcher Jameson Taillon was going on the 15-day disabled list with shoulder fatigue, the thought came that they wanted to give him some extra rest with the All-Star break coming up so that they could manage his innings now instead of shutting him down sooner at the end of the year. But with the Pirates in the midst of their biggest week of the season against the Cardinals and Cubs, it doesn’t quite add up.
With prized prospect Tyler Glasnow pitching recently in Triple-A Indianapolis, he wasn’t on enough rest to get the call to replace Taillon. Even if he was, would the Pirates debut him against a good right-handed hitting division rival in his first major league start, especially with his control issues? I tend to think not.
Enter Steven Brault. Brault was acquired by the Pirates in the Travis Snider deal with the Baltimore Orioles. Brault has just completed a rehab assignment after injuring his hamstring, which included a stop in West Virginia that Pirates Breakdown covered.
So, what can we expect to see from Brault in his major league debut? In 35 innings in Triple-A, Brault has a 2-3 record with a 2.57 ERA and a 2.81 FIP, meaning his ERA is on track with what it should be.
Brault has an impressive 11.31 K/9, with a 3.86 BB/9, is allowing a .355 BABIP and has a strand rate of 79.3 percent.
Brault’s numbers are up across the board, as his K/9, BB/9, strikeout-to-walk rate, home run rate, strikeout rate, walk rate, average against, WHIP, strand rate and BABIP are all up from his 2015 Double-A numbers.
In Brault’s last start, he threw five shutout innings, allowing four hits on 72 pitches.
According to Brault’s player page on Pirates Prospects, “on the mound, he’s a command-oriented lefty who throws a two-seam fastball in the upper-80s and a four-seamer in the low-90s. He also throws a slider and change, with the latter his best secondary pitch. He’s shown very good control so far and has a high groundout-to-air-out ratio.”
Against left-handed pitching this year, the Cardinals have a slash of .242/.311/.395, with 23 home runs and 96 RBI. Looking deeper, the Cardinals have a team wOBA of .306 against southpaws, and a blow average wRC+ of 90.
The matchup isn’t horrible for Brault if he’s able to get command of his pitches.
Predicted line: 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 4 K, 1 BB.