The Pirates announced a number of roster moves today, optioning pitcher Mitch Keller, JT Brubaker and Luis Escobar to Triple-A Indianapolis. Pitchers Dario Agrazal, Elvis Escobar, Eduardo Vera, Blake Weiman, as well as catcher Jason Delay were re-assigned to minor league camp.
Keller, 23, is the biggest name of the bunch, the Pirates top prospect and the #19 prospect overall according to MLB.com’s rankings. GM Neil Huntington provided commentary on the demoted pitchers to reporters today, including Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. On Keller, he said (via Brink’s Twitter), “He’s not the first or the last guy to have some struggles in spring training, but what’s really encouraging is his attitude about it going out. It’s not what he wanted, it’s not what we expected, but he’s ready to tackle it head-on.” Keller surrendered 10 earned runs in only 4 innings of work this spring, including 3 home runs. He struck out only one batter out of the twenty-five faced.
On Brubaker, 25, Huntington said (Twitter link), “J.T.’s been a guy for about four years now that we’ve liked much more than kind of the external noise is on him.” Brubaker put together a strong showing in Double-A and Triple-A last season, earning an overall 10-6 record with 2.81 ERA in 154 innings.
After this first round of roster moves, the Pirates big-league camp is down to 54 players, including 18 non-roster invites.