How Good Is JT Brubaker?

Brubaker is the Pittsburgh Pirates’ most underappreciated pitcher. The right-hander was a lot better than his numbers suggest.

He also pitched well at every minor league level and had a strong start to 2021.

JT Brubaker
JT Brubaker

Brubaker pitched 124.1 innings in total during the 2021 season, with a 5.36 ERA and 5.16 FIP. His main issue was surrendering the long ball at a rate of 2.03 per nine.

Since 2010, this is the 14th season with at least 120 innings. However, there was plenty of evidence that Brubaker is a good pitcher who just got lucky.

His strikeout and walk rates are two factors that work to his advantage. He struck out 24.7 percent of the time and walked 7.1 percent of the time.

His K/BB ratio of 3.4 was significantly higher than the league average of 2.7.

Brubaker’s xFIP was 4.00, SIERA was 4.04, and DRA was 4.34. All three scores are 5-7 percent higher than the national average (94 xFIP-, 93 DRA-).

Home runs, Brubaker’s biggest difficulty, may have been partly down to bad luck. His opponent’s exit velocity (88.9 MPH) and hard-hit rate (38.7%) were also decent.

His fly ball rate was actually over average, and his ground ball rate was just around normal. However, his HR/FB percentage was 22.4 percent, compared to 13.6 percent for the league in 2021.
In 2021, his batted ball profile is similar to that of Sean Manea, Frankie Montas, and Jack Flaherty, according to Baseball Savant.

Flaherty had the most HR/9 of the three players, with 1.38. In the year 2021, the league average was 1.26.

Despite having a batted ball profile that was similar to Brubaker’s, Flaherty’s HR/FB percent was greater than 15 percent at 15.6 percent.