Who is JT Brubaker, the arm Yankees added a day after the 2024 Opening Day?

Yankees acquire JT Brubaker from the Pirates in a trade on March 29, 2024.
Inna Zeyger
Saturday March 30, 2024

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The New York Yankees bolstered their pitching depth on Friday by acquiring right-hander JT Brubaker from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for a player to be named later.

Brubaker, 30, is currently sidelined on the 60-day injured list recovering from Tommy John surgery he underwent in April 2023. He’s recently begun throwing off a sloped mound and anticipates returning to the majors sometime around the All-Star break.

This trade marks the fourth player transaction between the Yankees and Pirates in the last three years. Previously, the Yankees acquired closer Clay Holmes from Pittsburgh in July 2021 by trading infielder/outfielders Diego Castillo and Hoy Park. The Pirates also acquired left-hander Manny Bañuelos from the Yankees in July 2022, followed by outfielder Billy McKinney in December 2023.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone expressed confidence in Brubaker’s abilities, highlighting his past experience as a starting pitcher for the Pirates in 2021 and 2022.

Who is JT Brubaker?

Yankees acquire JT Brubaker from the Pirates in a trade on March 29, 2024.

Selected by the Pirates in the sixth round of the 2015 MLB Draft out of the University of Akron, Brubaker has pitched in 63 games (61 starts) in the big leagues between 2020 and 2022. He compiled a career record of 9-28 with a 4.99 ERA.

The 2022 season saw his most extensive work, pitching in 28 starts for Pittsburgh where he recorded a 3-12 record and a 4.69 ERA. He also achieved career highs in starts, innings pitched (144), and strikeouts (147) that season.

Brubaker’s career totals include a 9-28 win-loss record and a 4.99 ERA with a 1.38 WHIP across 63 games, primarily as a starter.

Brubaker is currently recovering from Tommy John surgery performed by Dr. Keith Meister in April 2023. Despite missing the 2023 season due to the surgery, he boasts a strong 2022 campaign with the Pirates. The pitcher served as their Opening Day starter and pitched in 28 games, achieving career highs in starts (28), innings pitched (144.0), and strikeouts (147). While his win-loss record was 3-12, he maintained a respectable 4.69 ERA.


Prior to the surgery, Brubaker agreed to a one-year contract worth $2,275,000 with the Pirates in January 2023. However, he was subsequently placed on the 60-day injured list in February.

Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton is still in awe of Brubaker, praising his contributions on and off the field. Shelton commended his character, highlighting his involvement in charitable activities with his wife. While acknowledging the nature of professional sports trades, Shelton emphasized his continued support for Brubaker as a fan.

While Brubaker’s impact on the Yankees‘ starting rotation remains uncertain due to his recovery and the team’s existing needs, his potential contribution shouldn’t be overlooked. His past experience and ability to fill multiple pitching roles – starter or bullpen arm – could prove valuable as the season progresses. The Yankees undoubtedly have their sights set on the American League East title, and Brubaker’s addition provides them with additional depth as they strive toward that goal.

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