With the jockeying of selections and associated slot values from the first 10 rounds over with, the Blue Jays wasted no time going after yet another high-risk, high-reward prep pitcher in the 11th round. The name they called was Jake Brentz out of Parkway South High School in Missouri, and this young, unique southpaw isn’t like other pitchers.
Ranked third on Baseball America’s Missouri state list and 80th on their overall Top 500, Brentz first drew attention from scouts as an outfielder with power potential. That all changed, however, when he pitched in a tournament after his junior year and hit 96 mph on the radar gun. Since that kind of plus velocity from a left-hander isn’t seen every day, it’s obvious as to why the Blue Jays were interested in Brentz.
As you’ll see in the excellent video below, Brentz has an effortless delivery with clean, full-circle arm action. He struggles with his release point and throws the ball all over the place as a result, but for someone with barely any pitching experience, the word projection certainly comes to mind given what’s there. He shows a loopy curveball right around the 1:40 mark of the clip and has more of a feel for a changeup that’s flashed as a plus pitch, according to Perfect Game.
Signability is a bit of a concern with Brentz, though. Having been thought to go somewhere in the first two or three rounds, Brentz already has a scholarship to the University of Missouri and would require a substantial price to forego that opportunity. It’s important to note that if the Blue Jays do happen to sign Brentz and pay his asking price, any amount over $100,000 would count toward their bonus pool from rounds 1-10.
“I was holding firm to my number,” Brentz told Patch.com shortly after being drafted on Day 3. He added that “turning down quite a bit of money was the hardest decision of my life” which begs the question if the Jays have already made him an offer. Elsewhere in the article it mentions that after not being taken after the first two days of the draft, Brentz thought he’d be going to school.
“A year ago I had no idea I’d even be drafted,” Brentz told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in another article. “There were scouts looking at me to hit, but nothing major. A lot of college teams were recruiting me to hit. I wasn’t worrying about pitching. But after Jupiter that Saturday night, it kind of changed.”
Given that, much like last year, the view of the Jays’ draft this year is high-risk, Brentz seems like a must-sign given his upside. Baseball America adds that “his athletic 6-foot-2, 195-pound frame and easy delivery lead to hope that he can develop his secondary pitches and command, though they’re in the rudimentary stages.”
Here’s an additional clip from KDSK.com, that mentions that apparently 150 scouts took in Brentz’s first outing on the mound. The accompanying article adds that 20 interested major league teams had contacted Brentz’s family.