I Hope JT Brubaker Gets Wally Pipp'ed by Johan Oviedo

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JT Brubaker was firmly in the Pittsburgh Pirates starting rotation coming out of Spring Training.  However, news broke this week that he is dealing with right elbow/forearm discomfort.  Manager Derek Shelton said that this injury will likely cause Brubaker to begin the year on the IL.  Brubaker would be replaced by Johan Oviedo in the rotation.  If given a real chance, I'd like to see Oviedo "Wally Pipp" Brubaker.

If you don't know the story of Wally Pipp, pull up a seat.  If you do, you can probably skip this paragraph.  Pipp was one of the best power hitters of the dead ball era from 1913 to 1925.  However, one day in June of 1925, Pipp had a headache and needed to sit out.  This began Lou Gehrig's streak of 2,130 consecutive games played.  So now, in the sports lexicon, if you lose your starting job to injury you have been "Wally Pipp'ed."  Which I guess, it should be the opposite?  You have been "Lou Gehrig'ed".  But I don't make the rules.

Anyway, here's hoping Brubaker gets Wally Pipp'ed by Johan Oviedo.  I don't have a grudge against Brubaker, I'm just tired of seeing him pitch for the Pirates.  He's at best a 6 innings, 3 earned runs kind of guy, with a very low floor.  His 4.99 career ERA is not getting any better.  

Just because Brubaker is only four years in to his major league career, that doesn't make him an up and comer either like some of these other guys.  He didn't debut until he was 26.  So at 29 1/2 years old, I don't expect Brubaker to get much better.

Meanwhile, you have, just turned, 25 year-old Johan Oviedo waiting in the wings.  Oviedo was acquired in the Jose Quintana trade last season from the St. Louis Cardinals.  It's time to show off the youngster, although he debuted in 2020 and has 26 starts already under his belt.   

Oviedo had a decent 2022, registering one start with the Cardinals before starting seven games with the Pirates.  He had 13 relief appearances for the Cardinals as well.  In those 21 appearances, Oviedo had a 3.21 ERA and a WHIP of 1.29.  He had 54 strikeouts in 56 innings pitched, but also had 23 walks.  I'd like to see that number come down.  In Oviedo's last five starts of 2022, he gave up just seven earned runs in 26 innings, and registered two Quality Starts.  He did so by bringing his walk numbers down, so hopefully he continues on that trend.  

Oviedo is also just more exciting to have in the rotation.  You have this guy, who just turned 25, and was developed through the Cardinals system.  We know first-hand that everyone who comes up from the Cardinals just seems to have "it".  He could be a mainstay in the middle of the Pirates rotation.  Oviedo even has some ace potential for a start or two.  

Plus, if Oviedo pitches well enough to start the season that he is given a role in the starting rotation permanently, that's great for the team.  There is no downside to that. It also makes the Quintana trade look that much better.

Then, on the other hand, you have JT Brubaker.  He'll be 30 years old by the end of the season, and he's a 5th starter at best.  Any improvements he's shown over the last three years don't typically last for very long.  I hate to rip on the guy, since he'll probably be back in the rotation when he's healthy, but 61 starts is a good career.  That's well above a "cup of coffee" in the majors, and he'll always have that.  But it's time for him to be replaced.  

Let's see Johan Oviedo pull a Wally Pipp (or a Lou Gehrig) and take the rotation spot from Brubaker permanently.