A left-handed relief prospect is off to a strong start for the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians
* – all stats reflect the start of play on June 16th.
In the sport of baseball, you can never have too much pitching. This is a lesson that the 2019 Pittsburgh Pirates have learned.
23 different players have hit the injured list for the Pirates this season. 12 of these 23 players have been pitchers. All of these injuries have forced the Pirates to dive deep into their minor league depth.
One pitcher that has not been called upon by the Pirates this season is lefty Jake Brentz. While Brentz still has work to do at the Triple-A level, he has adjusted well since being promoted to Indianapolis in early May. Brentz is quickly pitching his way into being a legitimate relief prospect.
The 24-year-old Brentz is hard throwing lefty that was acquired from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for Arquimedes Caminero In August of 2016. Brentz has hit triple digits on his fastball that sits in the upper 90s. He throws a sharp mid-80s curveball, and has started to experiment with a splitter as well.
In 12 games at the Triple-A level this season, Brentz has posted a 3.63 ERA and a 2.92 FIP in 17 1/3 innings pitched. He’s walked seven batters, allowed just one home run, and has struck out 23. With his work, he has become Indy’s primary closer.
The good control numbers are great to see from Brentz. Throughout his minor league career Brentz has always racked up strikeouts, but control has always been an issue. Combined between Double-A and Triple-A this season his walk rate is 8.7%. Due to his high strikeout numbers, that is a walk rate that will play for Brentz.
For the most part, Brentz has dominated Triple-A. He walked four, allowed three hits, and was tagged for four earned runs in 2/3 of an inning pitched in his most recent outing this past Thursday. Outside of this game, Brentz has allowed just 10 hits, three earned runs, he’s issued just three walks, and has struck out 23 batters in 16 2/3 innings pitched. That translates to a 1.62 ERA, 4.9% walk rate, and a 37.7% strikeout rate. That’s pretty darn good.
As the 2019 season progresses, continue to keep an eye on Brentz at Triple-A. If he keeps pitching well, a September call up could be a possibility. Even if that does not occur, Brentz could be a big part of the Pirate bullpen beginning in 2020.