Steven Brault is doing something no pitcher has done in more than 80 years
In recent years, we have seen a number of pitchers showcase their offensive prowess with tape-measure home runs and elite baserunning. But as a fan, you may just hope for one thing from your favorite pitcher at the dish: Don't strike out. Whether it's a delicate bunt or a hard ground ball, you just want to make the defense make a play.
Let me introduce you to one Steven Brault. The 25-year-old left-hander has been stellar on the mound for a Pirates team that has gotten off to a hot start in 2018, but it's what he's doing at the plate that deserves recognition. It's simple, really: Brault has not struck out as a Major Leaguer. At all. Not once. 27 at-bats into his MLB career, and Brault, a pitcher, has yet to strike out.
Twenty-seven at-bats may not seem like a lot. But it's been more than 80 years since a pitcher has had a longer streak to start their career without striking out. Here are the eight pitchers to have a longer streak than Brault's -- the most recent being Jim Turner in 1937:
Boston Braves RHP Jesse Barnes: 1915-1916 - 43 AB
St. Louis Browns/Pittsburgh Pirates RHP Heinie Meine: 1922 and 1929 - 36 AB
Boston Bees RHP Jim Turner: 1937 - 36 AB
St. Louis Cardinals RHP Dizzy Dean: 1930-1932 - 35 AB
Chicago White Sox RHP Sloppy Thurston: 1923 -- 31 AB
Brooklyn Dodgers RHP Tom Baker: 1935-1936 -- 29 AB
Detroit Tigers LHP Bert Cole: 1921 -- 29 AB
Philadelphia Athletics RHP George Earnshaw: 1928 -- 28 AB
It's not too surprising to see Brault display some proficiency with the bat -- he was a two-way player in college at Division II Regis University and hit .397/.416/.554 in 184 at-bats as a sophomore -- but this level of bat control at the Major League level has been truly incredible thus far.
Now, does Brault even know about his spectacular, yet subtle strikeout-less streak? According to his good friend, teammate, and podcast co-host Trevor Williams, he is very aware: "He does know and he lets us now every day," he told MLB.com. Fair enough.
Brault starts tonight at home against the Rockies -- we'll see if he can keep this remarkable streak alive. At the very least, we can count on him giving his fellow pitchers some hitting tips: