Steven Brault Bids For A Rotation Spot With A New Delivery

Pirates Lefty Needs "To Get Better"

Eric Hagman
February 20, 2019 - 6:18 am

Eric Hagman 93.7 The Fan

Bradenton, FL (93.7 The Fan) -Steven Brault is in the running for the fifth spot in the Pirates rotation, but he won't use his 2018 numbers to build his case.  Dissatisfied with last season, in particular his lack of control, the lefthander tinkered with his delivery in the off-season and is eager to see the results.

"So far in the little bit I've done, just in bullpens and the few live BPs, it's been much better than it was last year already," Brault said.  "As we go through the spring I'll just get better facing live hitters and stuff like that."

With the blessing of pitching coach Ray Searage, Brault shortened his stride length and raised his arm angle compacting his delivery.  The aim was a more consistent release point.

"My big problem last year was command, especially fastball command," Brault explained.  "I wanted to be able to get my fastball command the best it's ever been.  It's all about consistency of release point for that and being able to know where I'm actually going with the ball."

Brault pitched only 91 innings last season, but led the Pirates in walks with 57. His ERA was 4.61 to go with a 1.538 WHIP.  It might be an overstatement to say that Brault's career is at a crossroads, but he realized things must change.  In addition to altering his delivery, he went through a full off-season throwing program, rather than take off a couple months.

"What I realized is I need to get better," Brault said.  "I need to move forward and forget about anything I've done in the past."

Manager Clint Hurdle said he'll be able to make a better judgment once Brault faces opposing hitters.

"I like what I'm seeing right now, Hurdle said.  "Time will tell."

Brault is among a handful of pitchers in the running for the final spot in the rotation.  If that doesn't materialize, he could find himself vying for a left-handed role in the bullpen.

"I think (the competition) is awesome, it's fun," Brault said.  "I'm used to it.  It's what I do every year so far.  We're all going through the same thing together and we're just going to see how it plays out.  Nobody wants anybody else to do poorly, we just want to do better than the other people that are pitching, you know what I mean?  That's the goal."