Jordan Milbrath

Born: August 1, 1991
Height: 6’6″
Weight: 215
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Drafted: 35th Round, 1041st overall pick, 2014 (Indians)
How Acquired: Rule 5 draft
College: Augustana College
Agent: N/A


Milbrath was a late-round draft pick of the Indians.  He has the tall, lean physique that the Pirates like, but his track record in the low minors, mainly as a starter, was poor.  The Indians moved him to the bullpen in 2016 and he continued to struggle, but he made progress in 2017 in high A and, to a lesser extent, in AA.  As a reliever he started reaching the upper-90s with a sinking fastball.  He also throws a decent slider.  Milbrath made a change in his arm slot in 2017, lowering it to roughly a three-quarters angle, and that apparently resulted in an extremely high groundball rate.  That no doubt also appealed to the Pirates and led to them selecting him in the Rule 5 draft.

R:  1-1-4, 4.87 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 20.1 IP, 6.6 BB/9, 7.5 K/9
A:  0-1-0, 0.81 ERA, 9.00 WHIP, 0.1 IP, 54.0 BB/9, 0.0 K/9

The Indians sent Milbrath to rookie ball, where he pitched in relief and struggled.  He also had one very rough outing in low A at the end of the season.

A:  3-12-0, 3.95 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 125.1 IP, 3.5 BB/9, 5.5 K/9

Milbrath pitched in the rotation in low A and put up mediocre numbers with a very low K rate.

A:  7-11-0, 4.54 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, 140.2 IP, 2.9 BB/9, 8.3 K/9

The Indians returned Milbrath to low A and he again pitched out of the rotation.  He had much better walk and K rates, but got hit very hard, including some gopher ball problems as he allowed 15.

A+:  3-5-4, 5.43 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, 59.2 IP, 5.3 BB/9, 9.4 K/9
AA:  1-0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 2.1 IP, 7.7 BB/9, 11.6 K/9

Cleveland moved Milbrath up to high A and also moved him to the bullpen.  He had a high K rate, but also had control problems.

A+:  2-1-2, 2.03 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 26.2 IP, 4.7 BB/9, 11.5 K/9
AA:  3-2-2, 3.90 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 30.0 IP, 3.3 BB/9, 8.7 K/9

Milbrath went back to high A and pitched well, with a very high K rate but also continued control problems.  He moved up to AA and was more hittable there, with just fair numbers overall.

Milbrath made a lot of progress in 2017 and has a lot of characteristics that the Pirates love, but the fact is that he’s pitched only briefly, and just decently, in AA.  He’s also already 26.  He’ll have to stay in the majors in 2018 for the Pirates to retain him, although they could try to work out some sort of deal with Cleveland.

2018: Major league minimum
Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 2013
MLB Debut: N/A
MiLB FA Eligible: N/A
MLB FA Eligible: 2023
Rule 5 Eligible: N/A
Added to 40-Man: 12/14/2017
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
June 8, 2013: Drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 35th round, 1041st overall pick; signed on June 24.
December 14, 2017:
Selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates from the Cleveland Indians in the Rule 5 draft.