Pittsburgh Pirates: Ke'Bryan Hayes Hitting Big in Rehab Stint, JT Brubaker Struggles

Photo Credit: ICON Sportswire via Getty Images

 The Pittsburgh Pirates just endured a rough outing in the city of Atlanta, losing three of four games to the Braves, while allowing 15 home runs throughout the series.

It was a rough watch over the weekend, as not only did it include a 20-1 loss on Friday night, but the inability to keep Braves' hitters in the park severely overshadowed the fact that the Pirates only scored three runs in the final three games of the series.

I tried to find a pattern in what the Braves were doing so well, outside of the fact that they are an insanely talented team with one of the best players in the game. I broke down what pitch was thrown for each home run, and where they were in the count, and nothing really stood out over one another.

Atlanta did do a good job in jumping out on Pirate pitching, with four of the 15 homers hit were on the first pitch of the at bat. Add another four on the second pitch, that's 8-of-15 home runs allowed this weekend that occurred early on in the count.

The Braves got aggressive, and got after the Pirates' pitching, and it led to a monster weekend.

JT Brubaker's Struggles Continue

About a week ago there wasn't much of an argument in saying that JT Brubaker was the Pirates' best pitcher. That may be the case still, but it's been a rough two outings for the righty. 

Brubaker has thrown 11 innings his last two starts, allowed 15 hits, 12 earned runs, walked three while striking out 10 and three home runs.

On the other hand, it was almost one of those starts that you can say Brubaker pitched better than what the box score said. He generated 18 swing and misses, 14 of which came by way of the slider. Throwing 32 sliders in total, he got the batter to whiff 43.75% of the time he threw the pitch, an insanely high number.

In his last two starts, Brubaker has thrown 66 sliders and has generated swing and misses on 31.8% of them. That's still going to be a recipe for success going forward as he looks to rebound from his recent outings.

Ke'Bryan Hayes Rehab Continues

Is it June 3rd yet? That's the big day when Ke'Bryan Hayes is going to be eligible to return from the 60-day IL. He started his rehab assignment in Indianapolis for the Triple-A Indians on Saturday and in the two games he has played, Hayes has hit safely in 3-of-6 at bats.

He hit a double and a home run on Sunday, helping Indianapolis to a victory.

Boy is that exciting thinking of getting his bat back into the lineup in Pittsburgh, it's sorely missed.

They have some pieces in places, with Adam Frazier leading baseball in hits, Bryan Reynolds tops in doubles and Jacob Stallings showing a little pop in the middle of the lineup.

Now they get its best overall player back. Very exciting.

Minor League Week Four: What I'm Watching For

Jared Jones was assigned to the Bradenton Marauders this past week but never got any playing time. Once he does pitch it will be five of the six 2020 draft picks to make their professional debut this year, with only Jack Hartman being out due to surgery.

The second round pick out of La Miranda High School, Jones is currently the 17th ranked Pirates prospect according to MLB.com. It's an aggressive push for a prep arm just coming out his draft year, but it also shows how excited the Pirates are with him.

Bradenton in general is becoming a must-watch in the Pirates system. Most are getting their first taste of full season professional baseball and are showing why the Pirates have one of the deepest farm systems.

They have a fast outfield with great upside in Sammy Siani, Hudson Head and Jasiah Dixon. The latter of the trio you won't find on any prospect rankings, but he is one of the faster players in the system and is starting to show he can hit as well.

Alexander Mojica is just 19 years old and while his future might be at first he's showing his bat plays wherever. Then Endy Rodriguez, despite playing first base on Sunday, is starting to grow into a legitimate catcher prospect - something the Pirates lack.

It's been fun watching some play and start to create conversation where they belong on the organizational depth chart, and I look forward to watch as the season unfolds.

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