Ex-Curve player Luplow, Brault honored by Bucs

PITTSBURGH — Jordan Luplow and Steven Brault were the gems of the Pirates farm system in 2017

Luplow was honored as the organization’s minor league player of the year, and Brault was selected as the top pitcher.

“It’s a pretty cool award,” said Luplow, who was not invited to major league spring training camp and opened the season with the Curve.

Luplow, 23, hit .302 with 22 doubles, one triple, 23 home runs and 56 runs batted in over 117 combined games this season between Altoona and Class AAA Indianapolis. Luplow was named an Eastern League mid-season All-Star.

He hit a total of 16 home runs for the eventual league-champion Curve, which was tied for the fifth-most in the Eastern League at the time of his promotion to Indianapolis on June 30.

In 44 Class AAA games, Luplow hit .325 (52-for-160) with seven doubles, seven homers and 19 RBIs. Luplow made his major league debut with the Pirates on July 28. He became the first member of the organization’s 2014 draft class to make it to the big leagues.

“Jordan is one of the more impressive developmental stories from the last two seasons,” said Larry Broadway, the Pirates’ minor league director. “The commitment to his plan, along with his approach and maturity as a man and player really stood out in 2017.”

Luplow said he altered his off-season training routine, and he’s been helped in Pittsburgh by David Freese and Sean Rodriguez.

“They’ve kind of taken me under their wing,” Luplow said.

Brault produced a 10-5 record, 1.94 ERA, 109 strikeouts and a .199 opponents batting average while helping Indianapolis advance to the postseason.

While winning 10 of his last 12 Triple-A decisions, the 25-year-old lefty went on to lead all International League pitchers in ERA while finishing second in batting average against and third with a 1.07 WHIP.

Brault has made nine appearances (three starts) with the Pirates this year, and recorded his first career win with six scoreless innings and allowing just one hit on Sept. 11 at Milwaukee.

“This award for Steven is very well deserved as he also earned the International League Pitcher-of-the-Year award, Broadway said.

Luplow and Brault were honored on the field before Saturday’s game against St. Louis.