Steven Brault is the Pirates Prospects 2017 Minor League Pitcher of the Year

Steven Brault will make the start in Pittsburgh tonight. It will be his third start of the season, with all three coming this month. Brault wasn’t really getting starts out of necessity, but was placed in the Pirates’ rotation this month to give guys like Ivan Nova a break. He didn’t make a start earlier in the year, and that wasn’t because he was undeserving, but because the Pirates didn’t have many opportunities for depth starters, with the rotation staying mostly healthy and productive.

As a result, Brault stayed in the minors most of the year, and he dominated to the tune of a 1.94 ERA in 120.1 innings with Indianapolis, along with a 109:44 K/BB ratio. That performance makes him the 2017 Pirates Prospects Minor League Pitcher of the Year.

Brault’s ERA was the lowest in the system of any starter with more than 100 innings of work. Only Scooter Hightower (1.94 in 88 innings) and Tyler Glasnow (1.93 in 93.1 innings) were close when it came to pitchers with 80+ innings. He also finished tied sixth in strikeouts, and sixth in WHIP among pitchers with 80+ innings (second among pitchers with 100+ innings, behind Mitch Keller).

Brault is a guy who belongs in the majors, and if he were in a different organization, or if the Pirates had more injuries, he would have definitely had that shot this year. Going forward, it will be interesting to see how he is used with the Pirates. He has one more option year remaining, so he could be used as a nice depth option in 2018. He could also be used as a lefty reliever out of the bullpen, with the option to still pitch in the rotation, much like what we saw out of Trevor Williams this year.

His performance in 2017 with Indianapolis showed that he is ready for the majors, and he’s now getting that shot, only after being the best pitcher in the Pirates’ system this year.

Below you will find our Minor League Pitchers of the Year for each level in the farm system, our previous overall award winners, and the 2017 monthly awards.

Previous Pirates Prospects Minor League Pitchers of the Year

2016 – Mitch Keller

2015 – Chad Kuhl

2014 – Tyler Glasnow

2013 – Tyler Glasnow

2012 – Jeff Locke

2011 – Kyle McPherson

2017 Pirates Prospects Minor League Pitchers of the Year By Level

Indianapolis – Steven Brault, LHP (1.94 ERA, 120.1 IP, 109:44 K/BB)

Altoona – Austin Coley, RHP (3.01 ERA, 143.2 IP, 114:31 K/BB)

Bradenton – Pedro Vasquez, RHP (3.73 ERA, 137.2 IP, 107:30 K/BB)

West Virginia – Eduardo Vera, RHP (3.33 ERA, 132.1 IP, 109:14 K/BB)

Morgantown – Scooter Hightower, RHP (1.94 ERA, 88.0 IP, 80:9 K/BB)

Bristol – Braeden Ogle, LHP (3.14 ERA, 43.0 IP, 35:16 K/BB)

GCL Pirates – Samuel Reyes, RHP (2.65 ERA, 34.0 IP, 24:4 K/BB)

2017 Pirates Prospects Pitcher of the Month Awards

April

Overall – Alex McRae

Indianapolis – Tyler Eppler

Altoona – Alex McRae

Bradenton – Dario Agrazal

West Virginia – Luis Escobar

May

Overall – Steven Brault

Indianapolis – Steven Brault

Altoona – Austin Coley

Bradenton – Pedro Vasquez

West Virginia – Cam Vieaux

June

Overall – Steven Brault

Indianapolis – Steven Brault

Altoona – Tate Scioneaux

Bradenton – Dario Agrazal

West Virginia – Oddy Nunez

July

Overall – Tyler Glasnow

Indianapolis – Tyler Glasnow

Altoona – Tanner Anderson

Bradenton – Bret Helton

West Virginia – Luis Escobar

Morgantown – Ike Schlabach

Bristol – Hunter Stratton

GCL Pirates – Yeudry Manzanillo

August

Overall – Scooter Hightower

Indianapolis – Tyler Glasnow

Altoona – Mitch Keller

Bradenton – James Marvel

West Virginia – Eduardo Vera

Morgantown – Scooter Hightower

Bristol – Alex Manasa

GCL Pirates – Samuel Reyes

  • Admittedly, I am not an in-depth analyst or a metrics statistician, but it strikes me that we get these prospects with great upside who seem to almost never reach their potential. Is there something wrong with the way our systems seeks to develop young players? We got lucky, it seems, with Bell, but we just don’t seem to develop talent like, for example, the Cubs or Yankees.

  • Marte and Polonco have below average baseball instincts. They repeat the same mistakes on bases each week. They seem satisfied with only a single hit in a game. Marte has no patience at the plate. Why even throw him a strike? At this point Marte is Tabata with better speed and a good arm. He would be in the minors if he did not get 20 infield hits each year.

  • I wonder why folks keep assuming that Cole will be or should be dealt? With 2 years control, and a legitimate chance to contend in 2018 (I know, many think differently) why would they deal him. The team has been horrible in September, but, should not be assessed in a 20 game vacuum. Nobody likes excuses, but the personal issues of Kang and Marte disrupted this team tremendously. With the replacements playing admirably for bench players filling in for long periods, they still could not replace the production and the bench was also weakened as there was a dropoff from Freese and Frazier to the guys that filled the bench roles. A starting 8 of Harrison, Marte, Cutch, Bell, Kang, Polonco, Cervelli and Mercer with Frazier, Seanrod, Luplow/Osuna, Diaz is on the bench is pretty formidable. The young pitchers matured nicely. Not sure what we do with Cutch in the offseason or plan around Kang, but, there is a lot of hope for 2018.

    • Cutch is gone- Kang will be here if he can be, but doubt it. We just need talent to upgrade other positions immediately. If cutch is dealt, we need a 3B better than Andy Laroche to take over back, or someone great enough at 2b to swallow moving Harrison to 3b permanently….

      • Not so sure that Cutch is gone. If he is as good as many fans want us to believe, why would we not keep him, let him have his monster year and then make a qualifying offer to get a draft pick if/when he departs in FA? As far as Kang, I agree that he probably wont be back but I think bounce back seasons from Marte and Polonco in addition to Cutch playing at a 2-3 WAR and Bell continuing to mature gives us plenty of offense and could see Jayhay at 3rd with Frazier at 2B.

        • Cutch is gone. Cutch is gone. Cutch is gone. Read an article, read 400 articles. They all say the same thing, they give us all the reasons. Tim has given us all the reasons, we all know why. Nothing else for me to say here.

    • I don’t believe they can legitimately contend in 2018. Cole has 2 years left, Boras as an agent, and has battled the Pirates over contact at every opportunity. Now is a good time to maximize return. If you wait until 2019 you get far less and Cutch is probably gone. I think I move them both now and reload with the young guys plus Keller, Meadows, Newman, etc.

  • I want to make a public apology to Tim and John.

    I got really upset at some comments from Tim and JD directed at me. And, I stupidly vented on BD and PBC Asylum this morn. I have placed a public apology on both sites.

    The bottom line is this: Had I NOT continually been negative towards the Pirates org (esp Craig) and then took that anger out on Tim and JD, I wouldn’t be in this position right now. Where once I was optimistic, I am currently not in a good place right now with our org.

    So, I take full blame for this. NO excuses. Anger is never a good thing. Never!

    I have no hard feelings towards them. I would’ve reacted the same way.

    I want to wish them all the best going forward. Nobody out there provides the in depth Bucs prospect coverage that they do. They both should be proud of that accomplishment.

  • If he doesn’t make the 2018 rotation, and his health and performance remain the same next year as was this year, why wouldn’t he at least be in the bullpen? He HAS to be better than some of the current bullpen pitchers.

  • Might have a good future as a reliever. Will have to wait and see. Command right now just isn’t good enough to get the ball every 5th day.

    • How do you conclude this?

      • Should have put a disclaimer as always that is just my opinion. I just don’t think his command is particularly good and that he will have sustained success with his stuff as a starter. Don’t really think he has an above average secondary pitch whether you are talking about his slider or changeup.

        Who knows, maybe we will be 2nd coming of Clayton Kershaw. I understand why they are giving him a chance as a starter, I just don’t think he still stay there long term.

  • I’d like to see Brault in next year’s rotation with Glasnow, Taillon, Williams, & Kuhl. Trade Cole and move Nova to the pen.

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