When you’re watching a prospect develop there are milestones along the way. Some of them have formal titles like promotion to the next level. At every stop along the way you look around and realize you’ve moved up, you still see the goal in your sights of being called up to the show.
And then one day it happens, you get the call, for some they look around and feel like they’ve climbed the mountain, with nowhere else to move up they flatline and forget they can still achieve more.
Some prospects reach the majors having never really felt failure. Oh sure they’ve lost or stuck out with the bases loaded but they have always been the guy, were always supposed to be THE guy.
JT Brubaker, many forget and Craig often likes to remind me, was actually rated ahead of Mitch Keller on their way through the system before Brubaker went down with the elbow injury.
JT was the guy. When he got his chance last season he improved from start to finish. When he got to Spring he dialed in and improved as the pre season progressed, and in this start against the Brewers he was snarly. Pitching with emotion. Hunting strikeouts and relishing big situations.
This is maturity. That’s what it looks like. This is that moment when a guy is no longer in ‘trying to stick’ mode, but instead is well on his way to proving he belongs. His name will wind up in pen for the rotation for 2022, and he’s earned it by taking every opportunity given to him.
There are some other young pitchers in the system who could stand to observe what they were treated to this evening in Milwaukee.
After Brubaker, Chris Stratton struggled, loading the bases on 2 walks and 2 Ks giving way to Sam Howard who cleaned it up.
Crick followed with a scoreless inning after a Gregory Polanco 2 run shot to expand the lead to 6-1
Duane Underwood Jr. was called on to get the last three outs with a five run lead and he got the job done with no undue drama.
Back at it tomorrow with Trevor Cahill vs Brett Anderson at 7:10 as the Pirates lead the series 1-0
News & Notes
- JT Brubaker threw 6 innings of 1 run ball tonight posting the first Quality Start of the season for the Bucs. Hey, until someone tells me this stat is shifting to 5 innings its still a thing ok.
- Adam Frazier continues to scald the ball, he’s off to a great start to the season and has done it against pitchers on both sides.
- Big appearance by Sam Howard to get Shaw to fly out harmlessly when called upon in the 7th with the bases juiced. It was the third time Shaw had a chance to impact this game and swing the outcome, but Brubaker stared him down twice and then Howard took care of him in turn.
- Polanco hits a 2 run bomb in the 8th. And that’s why he plays ladies and gentleman. It doesn’t excuse his overall numbers but that potential to take a game from nervous lead to over is something this lineup needs, even if it’s just for show some nights.
- It’s not always clean, but the bullpen continues to get the job done.
- Dustin Fowler chipped in tonight with a hit. He still looks out of sorts at the plate but he’s chipping in here and there and that might just be enough to keep him around. And I say this despite the report that Ben Cherington isn’t ready to pull the plug on Fowler or Alford. Until I see otherwise I just can’t see the choice for Hayes counter move being anyone else.
- Kyle Crick is still battling wildness, but he put up another zero and has quietly put together a great beginning to the season.
- Colin Moran drove a pitch opposite field over the wall in the second inning today to get the party started for the Pirates. His approach has made pitching to him a complete pain in the can for every pitcher. Mess around and he’ll walk. Pitch away, ok he’ll give it a poke that way. Pitch away high, ok he’ll go that way with authority. Come inside, fine he’ll turn on it, he’d rather do that anyway. And he doesn’t care which side it’s coming from. This is a guy that Clint Hurdle absolutely hid from left handed pitching for his entire tenure.
- The Brewers Devin Williams has only given up 3 runs in his MLB career and they are all off the Pirates bats. Colin Moran touched him for a solo shot last season and Polanco got him for his two run jack tonight.