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MLB Rookie Profile: Steven Brault, LHP, Pittsburgh Pirates

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Brault was promoted to the majors on July 22nd; here’s a quick review

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

On July 22nd the Pittsburgh Pirates promoted pitching prospect Steven Brault to the major league roster. He pitched an inning of relief against the Colorado Rockies, giving up two hits, a walk, and two runs, but he was having an excellent season in Triple-A and will receive additional opportunities. Let’s review.

Brault was originally drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 11th round in 2013 from Regis University. The Pirates acquired him in a 2015 trade for Travis Snider. He spent most of 2016 with Triple-A Indianapolis, posting a 3.91 ERA in 71 innings with an 81/35 K/BB.

You may remember Brault coming up to the majors last summer and making seven starts, posting a 4.86 ERA with a 29/17 K/BB in 33 innings, but he retained rookie eligibility for 2017. Brault ranked ninth on the Pittsburgh Pirates Top 20 prospects list for 2017 with the following commentary:

9) Steven Brault, LHP, Grade B-/C+: Age 24, 11th round pick by Orioles in 2013 from Regis University in Colorado; acquired in 2015 trade; posted 3.91 ERA in 71 innings in Triple-A with 81/35 K/BB; 4.86 ERA in 33 major league innings with 29/17 K/BB; stereotypical finesse lefty with 88-90 fastball, very good change-up, average slider; fourth starter projection if he can avoid nibbling too much in the majors. ETA 2017.

‘17 has gone quite well: 2.06 ERA in 100 innings for Indianapolis with a 95/36 K/BB and only 77 hits allowed. He’s certainly ready for another trial.

Brault is listed at 6-0, 200, born April 29th, 1992. The pre-season report underplays his fastball: he’s up to 90-95 these days and topped out at 96 in his relief outing over the weekend. Both his slider and change-up have made steady improvement, to the point that both drew above-average grades from International League observers. His command has been a bit sharper this year as well.

He’s quite tough on lefties, holding them to a .164 average this year, but his arsenal is broad enough for him to project as at least an average starter, with LOOGY work the fall-back option.