JAKE BRENTZ, LEFT HANDED PITCHER
|Born: September 14, 1994
Drafted: 11th Round, 325th Overall, 2013 (Blue Jays)
How Acquired: Trade (from Mariners for Arquimedes Caminero)
High School: Parkway South HS (Manchester, MO)
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
|The Jays drafted Brentz as a high-risk, high-reward pick and paid him an above-slot bonus. He throws his fastball 90-95, reaching 96 or 97. He’s shown some feel for a change, but needs to work on his curve. His command has a long ways to go, which isn’t surprising because he’s a converted outfielder who hasn’t been pitching for long. The Pirates acquired Brentz as one of two players to be named later for Arquimedes Caminero. His velocity may have ticked up a bit, because in spring training 2017 he was sitting in the upper-90s and reached 100 mph at least once.
Brentz got into nine games after signing. Obviously, he had significant trouble throwing strikes. Baseball America nevertheless ranked him as the Jays’ 28th best prospect after the season.
The Jays sent Brentz back to rookie ball and he made some progress with the strike zone in a dozen games, six starts.
Brentz made six starts in advanced rookie ball with Toronto before being traded to Seattle in a deadline deal. Seattle moved him up a level and he pitched better there. After the season, BA rated him the Mariners’ 25th best prospect.
In mid-June, Brentz made what were probably a pair of fill-in appearances in AAA, pitching a scoreless inning in one and struggling in the other. The Mariners then sent him back to the short-season Northwest League. Pitching mostly as a starter, he struggled there, with very high walk and K rates. In August, Seattle moved Brentz up to low A and used him out of the bullpen. He did much better there, although control remained an issue. On September 1, Brentz became a PTBNL in the Caminero trade, but not in time to see any action with the Pirates.
Brentz opened with Bradenton and continued to show the upper-90s velocity he’d shown in camp, occasionally hitting 100. He mostly pitched well for the Marauders, although control problems sometimes surfaced. The ERA is a little misleading because he had a very low strand rate of 59.4%. His xFIP was 2.42. The Pirates promoted Brentz to Altoona in June. He had considerably more trouble there, with a number of control meltdowns. He seemed to get a handle on it eventually, as he issued no walks in five of his last six outings. He had a high K rate throughout. The Pirates kept Brentz’ workload very light for some reason; he typically went 3-5 days between appearances. He also missed nearly three weeks in August with a minor injury.
Brentz was eligible for the Rule 5 draft and wasn’t added to the 40-man roster or selected, despite the velocity. He ended up having largely a lost season. He started off at Altoona, but the control problems were so severe that the Pirates sent him back to Bradenton in June. He had more trouble with the strike zone there than he had the previous season. He seemed to make some progress after a six-walk outing in early July, walking five in his last 13 innings.
Brentz seems to be going backwards with his wildness. He seemed to be addressing that in 2019 spring training by throwing with considerably less velocity. The Pirates will give him another shot at AA to start the season.
|2019: Minor league contract|
|Signing Bonus: $700,000
MiLB Debut: 2013
MLB Debut: N/A
MiLB FA Eligible: 2019
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: 2017
Added to 40-Man: N/A
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
|June 8, 2013: Drafted in the 11th round, 325th overall, by the Toronto Blue Jays; signed on July 12.
July 31, 2015: Traded by the Toronto Blue Jays with Nick Wells and Rob Rasmussen to the Seattle Mariners for Mark Lowe.
August 6, 2016: Traded by the Seattle Mariners with Pedro Vasquez to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Arquimedes Caminero; identified as player to be named later on September 1.