Brandon Cumpton Pirates

Pirates Option Brandon Cumpton to Indianapolis

The Pittsburgh Pirates have optioned right-handed pitcher Brandon Cumpton to Indianapolis. Cumpton had a good Spring, working out of the starting rotation. However, he never really had a shot to make the Pirates’ Opening Day roster, since their rotation looked set heading into camp. He will provide the team with strong early season depth in the event of an injury, or if Edinson Volquez struggles in the rotation.

Cumpton would probably start for at least a third of the teams in baseball right now, especially after the small sample of success he had during the 2013 season. He profiles as a number four or five starter down the line, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him making starts in the majors at some point this year.

The Pirates are now down to 30 players on their roster, including Chris Stewart, who is expected to start the year on the disabled list. That means they have four more cuts to make. One cut will be taken care of when they eventually trade a reliever. Jeff Locke, Andy Oliver, and Nevin Ashley are the other expected cuts to be made.

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • Born4rf

    I know a few spring training stints aren’t supposed to mean anything, and I know a few spot starts in teh MLB aren’t supposed to mean anything, and I know being a dominant workhorse in the minors since the day you are drafted isn’t supposed to mean anything BUT… isn’t it time we started mentioning Cumpton as a top prospect? He isn’t a crafty vet who gets by on guile, he has good pitches a real fastball with wicked control: that’s the makeup of a very good MLB pitcher. If Cumpton was on the table for a 1B in the offseason, he should be off of the table now. We need to replace Liriano and Rodriquez by 2015, Volquez should go sooner. Cumpton, Taillon and Locke are now pencilled in my 2015 rotation, in that order too.

    • stickyweb

      I love the enthusiasm Born, but I think you overstate the case a little with “being a dominant workhorse in the minors since the day you are drafted”. Cumpton’s never really dominated any level, though workhorse does seem to apply. I think he’s had solid results throughout the minors, but for comparison, Locke had much better all around numbers and most don’t consider him as anything above a 4 or 5 starter. And regardless of his success thus far in MLB, Cumpton probably has less chance to get there than Locke.

      • Y2JGQ2

        Good point Sticky- Cumpton just recently started becoming a valuable asset, but he may have turned a corner. Kinda late in the game to get any prospect label, but assuming he still qualified, i’d agree that someone who is still a rookie and pitched well and is likely to be a 4 or 5……and has low risk, probably DOES profile in the top 20 of almost every team in the ML

        • stickyweb

          Yeah, Joely/Taylor/Dickson are 15-17 for the Bucs and all have the upside of middle of the rotation guys but also a good chance they never see MLB. So I guess a guy that tops out as a #4 but has a much better chance to get there should be pretty close to them.
          But as you say, he’s come to the party so late, he might be a solid MLer before he’s recognized as a real prospect. Kind of like Jordy? I don’t think anyone considered much of him and he’s slated to be a solid MLB SS this year. Though I could be wrong about his prospect rankings.

      • Born4rf

        Cumpton’s ERA may never have been gaudy but we forget that last year was only his third full year as a pro at age 24, he had 10 innings his draft year. His ERA has come down each full year including 3.62 in AAA and 2.05 in MLB. Locke on the other hand was a year older, in his 8th season last year. Before his breakout season in AAA, 2012 during his 7th pro season, Lockes’ ERA was never significantly better than Cumptons’.

        • piraddict

          Cumpton and Taillon’s ERAs are comparable. Of course Taillon is the better power pitcher with impressive SO numbers while Cumpton is more of a pitch to contact guy. But it’s ironic that Taillon is so highly rated and Cumpton is hardly recognized. Victories are what matters and Cumpton may have just as good of a career in that department as Taillon. I really like Cumpton’s demeanor and focus.

  • NorCalBuc

    Last forecast for Monday, from “Noaa” (, calls for 64 degrees and SUNNY. Perfect weather for a perfect game from Frankie and fellows

  • Y2JGQ2

    I like Cumpton way better than Volquez. My bet is that he will be the first man up while Taillon gets healed and Locke gets ramped up (and they see if his issues are ironed out from last year). If Locke isn’t traded, I expect Locke or Cumpton in the rotation by May 15th. Write it down.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD

    So, the Pirates are going to be stubborn and bring Volquez north and hope that his horrific Spring as been a mirage or fluke. I hope they do not stay stubborn long, if he continues to get shelled when games start counting – remember Jonathan Sanchez last year? I hope I am wrong and that Volquez proves to be a reasonably good SP, but I suspect we will see Cumpton (or another Indy starting pitcher) in Pittsburgh by Mothers Day.

    • krinks

      Full of worthy prospects and they give 5 mil to a stiff. I didn’t get it then and still don’t. They might have signed a bat with that. Now we are stuck with him. Jonathan Sanchez II indeed.

  • marty34156

    The fact Volquez made the team over Cumpton is a slap in the face of Brandon Cumpton.

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