The choice for the best pitcher in the Pirates’ minor league system this year was an easy one to make. That’s not just because there were fewer big performers on the pitching side than the hitting side, but because one pitcher easily stood out above the rest. JT Brubaker is the Pirates Prospects 2018 Minor League Pitcher of the Year.

Brubaker had a 2.81 ERA in 154 innings this year between Altoona and Indianapolis, spending most of his time in Triple-A. That ERA led all pitchers with more than 70 innings. He also finished second in the system in strikeouts with 131. His 2.6 BB/9 also finished 10th among pitchers with 100+ innings of work.

Brubaker started the season back in Altoona, but was quickly moved up to Indianapolis after putting up a 1.80 ERA in 35 innings. His numbers in Indianapolis were solid, with a 3.10 ERA, a 3.99 xFIP, and a 96:36 K/BB ratio in 119 innings.

He showed improvements with his stuff this year, seeing success with a new cutter, while also showing his usual upper-90s fastball. His control saw improvements, with two of his best walk rate results of his career at any level.

The Pirates didn’t call Brubaker up this year, but he is Rule 5 eligible. They named him their Minor League Pitcher of the Year, and it would be hard to imagine them leaving him unprotected this offseason. He should be a depth option next year, either as rotation depth, or a long-relief option/bullpen depth option out of Triple-A.

Below you will find our Minor League Pitchers of the Year for each level in the farm system, our previous overall award winners, and the 2018 monthly awards.

Previous Pirates Prospects Minor League Pitchers of the Year

2017 – Steven Brault

2016 – Mitch Keller

2015 – Chad Kuhl

2014 – Tyler Glasnow

2013 – Tyler Glasnow

2012 – Jeff Locke

2011 – Kyle McPherson

2018 Pirates Prospects Minor League Pitchers of the Year By Level

Indianapolis – JT Brubaker, RHP (3.10 ERA, 119.0 IP, 96:36 K/BB)

Altoona – Mitch Keller, RHP (2.72 ERA, 86.0 IP, 76:32 K/BB)

Bradenton – James Marvel, RHP (3.68 ERA, 134.1 IP, 100:31 K/BB)

West Virginia – Domingo Robles, LHP (2.97 ERA, 115.0 IP, 88:26 K/BB)

Morgantown – Nicholas Economos, RHP (2.52 ERA, 53.2 IP, 58:18 K/BB)

Bristol – Argenis Romano, RHP (3.03 ERA, 32.2 IP, 30:12 K/BB)

GCL Pirates – Brad Case, RHP (3.38 ERA, 40.0 IP, 33:4 K/BB)

DSL Pirates – Mario Garcia, RHP (1.94 ERA, 46.1 IP, 39:12 K/BB)

2018 Pirates Prospects Pitcher of the Month Awards

April

Overall – JT Brubaker

Indianapolis – Nick Kingham

Altoona – JT Brubaker

Bradenton – Oddy Nunez

West Virginia – Evan Piechota

May

Overall – Eduardo Vera

Indianapolis – Tanner Anderson

Altoona – Taylor Hearn

Bradenton – Eduardo Vera

West Virginia – Blake Weiman

June

Overall – Clay Holmes

Indianapolis – Clay Holmes

Altoona – Mitch Keller

Bradenton – Oddy Nunez

West Virginia – Cody Bolton

July

Overall – Brandon Waddell

Indianapolis – Brandon Waddell

Altoona – Eduardo Vera

Bradenton – James Marvel

West Virginia – Domingo Robles

Morgantown – Cam Alldred

Bristol – Argenis Romano

GCL Pirates – Luis Nova

DSL Pirates – Yeison Santos

August

Overall – Scooter Hightower

Indianapolis – JT Brubaker

Altoona – Scooter Hightower

Bradenton – Jordan Jess

West Virginia – Oddy Nunez

Morgantown – Nicholas Economos

Bristol – Joe Jacques

GCL Pirates – Michael Burrows

DSL Pirates – Mario Garcia

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