Steven Brault is the Pirates Prospects Pitcher of the Month for May

May ended up being a very strong month for two pitchers in the system. Steven Brault put up the best ERA for a starter with a 1.26 mark in 28.2 innings. He also had a 1.08 WHIP, a .186 BAA and a 2.00 GO/AO ratio, to go along with 26 strikeouts. Pedro Vasquez led the system with 33.2 innings pitched, while putting up a 1.87 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP. It was a close battle and each pitcher had some impressive outings throughout the month, but in the end, Steven Brault was named the Pirates Prospects Pitcher of the Month for May.

Brault started his month with one run over five innings, striking out seven batters. It was a bounce back from his worst start of the season, when he allowed four runs over 4.2 innings on April 28th. In his second start in May, Brault gave up one run over six innings, then matched that performance five days later. He followed that up with seven shutout innings before ending on a little bit of a down note. He last outing was only 4.2 innings long because he ran up his pitch count due to five walks. High pitch counts have been the one thing holding Brault back, but it’s also what he has been working on recently.

The first start for the 25-year-old lefty in June was his best of the season, which is a good sign from someone who was the best pitcher in the farm system for the previous month. Brault didn’t allow a single walk, and it’s because he practiced what he has been trying to preach. He sometimes tries to be too fine, so instead of attacking hitters with two strikes, he’s trying to make the batter get himself out on a ball out of the strike zone. Brault has been relying on his sinker more often, which has led to more ground balls, and will hopefully help his pitch count issues. His fastball gets up to 94-95 MPH, and he’s been mixing his off-speed pitches well recently, while also working inside on batters.

Brault admitted in early May that not attacking hitters was his biggest issue, but until his seven shutout innings on June 1st, he never really fully embraced that thinking. He went right after batters all game and afterwards, Indianapolis manager Andy Barkett basically said that he pitched a perfect game. That’s not in the baseball sense of a perfect game, but rather that he did everything right and saw the desired results. There were no questionable pitch selections or sequences, he stuck to the game plan throughout the entire game. He trusted his stuff to get outs in the zone and it worked. When a pitcher can post a 1.26 ERA over an entire month and then show major improvements in his next start, you know he is on the right track.

Brault has been in this position before. He was our Pitcher of the Month back in August 2015 while with Altoona. That helped him get to Indianapolis last year after just a half season of Double-A, and while a hamstring injury during the season took away some of his effectiveness, he was still able to make his Major League debut last July. He ended up making seven starts and one relief appearance for the Pirates. Brault is in a position now where he’s ready in case the Pirates need a starter. He’s more experienced than last year, healthier, and he’s pitching better than we have seen at any point in the past. As Barkett said after his start on June 1st, Brault just had “a Major League outing.”


Indianapolis – Steven Brault, LHP (1.26 ERA, 26:12 K/BB, 28.2 IP)

Altoona – Austin Coley, RHP (2.03 ERA, 17:7 K/BB, 26.2 IP)

Bradenton – Pedro Vasquez, RHP (1.87 ERA, 29:7 K/BB, 33.2 IP)

West Virginia – Cam Vieaux, LHP (2.01 ERA, 15:5 K/BB, 22.1 IP)

  • I still have a feeling Cole will be traded to the Yankees for a few of their top prospects. I mentioned that a month ago. At that time Brault and/or Kingham will be ready for the rotation.

  • I was curious, so I looked up the Pirate number one draft choices over the last 20 or so years and not to my surprise at least 80% of them either didn’t make it to the show or had a sip of coffee. Only Barry Bonds became a superstar and no others will achieve that status. So why is this? The Pirates had bad luck at times. Remember when the number one pick was not based on the worst record but rotated between AL and NL in alternating years. Well in one year when they did have the worst record it was the ALs turn to pick, so Ken Griffey jr went to Seattle and the Pirates took Mark Merchant who they promptly traded, for whom I do not recall. They also went cheap most years leaving better talent available to take a more affordable player, think Weiters. So when you wonder why the Pirates were so bad for so long, it all came down to the money or the lack of it. Even if they could have taken jr. they would have probably passed on him anyway as a cost saving measure. Look over the list and please don’t cry to much.

    • to be fair, you should do that review for a successful team like the Cubs or Cardinals. Or maybe they actually don’t have enough #1’s to be noteworthy so maybe a team like Miami or San Diego…my bad I misread, I thought you meant #1 overall not just first rounders.

    • I have Baseball America’s Draft Book. The number of Top 10 draftees that become just regulars (including relievers) is around 40%. That number, btw, includes guys like Pedro, Bill Almon, etc.

      That means that 60% wash out.

      We are not alone.

      For every year they do a “re-draft” of the first round based on WAR and after the top 10 (some years less), the guys become quite ordinary.

      There is not a lot of depth to the draft. That is why the 2008 draft for us was a success. Getting two starters in a draft is above average.

      • What does that say about scouting? I guess it needs to improve. However, the Pirates tended not to pick the best available player based on cost. Not sure this can be said about other teams.

  • Cole to DL, Chad Kuhl to the bullpen or AAA, bring up Brault. Or if you really want to Troll the other team send down one of the white flag brigade. Start Kuhl and let them start a lefty heavy lineup and tag team with Brault as soon as Kuhl struggles or after one time through the lineup. I am sure they would never do something like this but I would love to see it. Against the Mets it would have been great to see.

    • That’d be an interesting way to do it in a playoff game. Start Kuhl and then have Brault warming up as soon as Chad throws his first pitch? As soon as a couple of men get on, bring in SB.

  • When JT comes back, should we replace BOTH Kuhl and TG?

    • it would be nice to get a lefty in the rotation, let kuhl and glasnow battle it out until JT comes back and makes some moves with the bullpen and rotation.

    • Yes