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Brubaker Makes MLB Debut with Pirates Sunday in St. Louis

July 27, 2020 - South Atlantic League (SAL) - West Virginia Power News Release

J.T. Brubaker pitching for the West Virginia Power
J.T. Brubaker pitching for the West Virginia Power
(West Virginia Power, Credit: Robin Black/West Virginia Power)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - After making the Pittsburgh Pirates Opening Day roster, former Power pitcher J.T. Brubaker made his MLB debut for the Pirates Sunday in St. Louis at Busch Stadium. Brubaker is the 89th former Power player to debut in the big leagues, as well as the eighth member from their 2016 squad.

Brubaker entered in relief of Mitch Keller, one of his teammates in West Virginia in 2016, in the sixth inning of Sunday's 5-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals. The Springfield, Ohio, native spun two scoreless frames, ceding just three hits and striking out four to pick up the hold. Michael Feliz and Nick Burdi took care of the final two innings to salvage the series finale for Pittsburgh.

The 2015 sixth-round selection had a dominant rookie campaign with the West Virginia Black Bears before moving up to Charleston in 2016. The righty posted a 4-5 record with a 3.48 ERA in 12 starts with the Power before earning a promotion to the High-A Bradenton Marauders right before the All-Star Break. Brubaker twirled 62.0 innings and struck out 77 batters while walking just 24 men and allowing a .241 average against him. The hurler had a rude awakening in Florida, as his ERA ballooned to 5.32 over his 14 starts in the FSL, but the Pirates thrust him to Double-A Altoona in 2017 regardless.

Despite missing two weeks with a blister on his right index finger, Brubaker still managed to make 26 appearances for the Curve and fan 109 batters over 129.2 innings. The University of Akron product found his footing in 2018, snagging Organization All-Star honors after putting together a 10-6 record with a 2.81 ERA in 28 starts between Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis. Brubaker recorded career highs in innings (154.0) and strikeouts (131), and was named the Pirates' Minor League Pitcher of the Year after leading the system in ERA and placing second in strikeouts.

The righty's 2019 campaign was shortened to six games due to a right forearm strain, but his performance in 2020 Summer Camp garnered him a spot on the 30-man Opening Day roster. Overall, he went 31-28 with a 3.60 ERA in 101 career MiLB games (99 starts), striking out 433 batters over 514.1 innings.

Brubaker is the first former Power player to make his MLB debut in 2020, and joins Dario Agrazal, Tanner Anderson, John Bormann, Taylor Hearn, Keller, Cole Tucker and Daniel Zamora as members of the 2016 team to make it to the bigs.

Images from this story

J.T. Brubaker pitching for the West Virginia Power
J.T. Brubaker pitching for the West Virginia Power

(Robin Black/West Virginia Power)

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