The Pirates Prospects 2017 Prospect Guide is now available for pre-sales. The book will be released the week before Spring Training, and we are currently in the process of making the final changes with editing and formatting.
The book features prospect reports on everyone in the system, the 2017 top 50 prospects, and the most comprehensive coverage of the Pirates’ farm system that you can find. Subscribers to the site get discounted books, with Top Prospect subscribers getting $10 off, and Annual subscribers getting $5 off. The eBook will be released when the book is released, and will also come with discounts. Details on the promotions can be found on the products page, and you can subscribe to the site or upgrade your current plan on the subscriptions page.
While the top 50 prospects are exclusive to the book, we will be releasing the top 20 prospects over the next few weeks as a countdown to the start of Spring Training, and to give a preview of the release of the book. We will be wrapping up on Monday, February 13th. The reports will only be available to site subscribers, including those with a monthly plan. You can subscribe here, and if you like these reports, be sure to purchase your copy of the book on the products page of the site to get much more analysis on every player in the system.
To recap the countdown so far:
20. Alen Hanson, 2B
17. Elias Diaz, C
16. Max Kranick, RHP
13. Clay Holmes, RHP
We continue the countdown with the number 12 prospect, Steven Brault.
12. Steven Brault, LHP
When Brault was originally acquired in the Travis Snider deal, he was a player to be named later, and considered the second part of the deal. He didn’t have overwhelming stuff, but had a lot of movement on his two-seamer, and commanded the pitch well, sitting 89-91, touching 92-93. That led to a bit of a breakout in 2015. He moved to Triple-A in 2016, and while moving up he started using his four-seam fastball more often for more power, sitting 91-93, and touching 94-95 MPH.
Brault can control his fastballs well, and is able to move the ball to all four corners of the plate with good command. This led to some very high strikeout numbers in Triple-A, with hitters getting overmatched by the good fastball placement. However, he had times where he tried to overpower hitters too much, leading to poor command. That really carried over to the majors. He talked with Ray Searage after the season, who advised him to get back to what he was, rather than trying to be a power pitcher.
The fastballs are solid, but Brault will need a breaking pitch in the majors in order to have a good out pitch. He throws a slider right now, and is hoping to add his old curveball back to the mix. The Pirates took the curveball away when he joined the system, hoping to improve the slider. That hasn’t worked as well as hoped, and now the curveball will be added back to give another option, giving Brault five pitches.
It’s unlikely Brault will develop a solid out pitch, which makes his upside the back of the rotation. The normal command, the late cutting movement of his two-seamer, and locating the four-seamer all over the strike zone will get him a long way. He’s also very athletic, adding value with his glove and his bat. Mixing his secondary pitches up will be key. He’ll have to rely more on pitchability than stuff. He could contend for the final rotation spot in Pittsburgh in 2017, and might have an edge since he’s one of the few lefty options.