|No. 8 — Jacob Brentz, LHP
|Acquired: Trade from Toronto (Mark Lowe), July 2015
Brentz is an athletic, projectable southpaw with plus velocity into the mid-90s and a 55-grade curveball. The changeup has graded all over the map from 35 to flashing average now and then. Concerns about Brentz’s role keep him from the Top-5, even in a weak Mariners system, and those concerns aren’t new. They date all the way back to pre-draft when the lefty was sitting 94-96 mph but blowing away bad competition in Missouri — not exactly a hot bed for quality prep baseball.
Brentz’s arm speed, 1-2 punch and spotty control and command scream a bullpen role but he’s just 21 (won’t be 22 until after the minor league season ends in 2016) and sometimes the smooth, easy actions from head to toe allow for a lightbulb moment when it comes to command, feel and consistency.
A player I’ve comp’d Brentz to recently (for physical and stuff reasons) also serves as a good example for a late-blooming power arm: Scott Kazmir. Their natural deliveries are even similar, particularly below the waist.
The Mariners have their hands full fixing the multitude of issues here, but none are red flags for injury and the raw stuff is too good to take lightly. Brentz is a front-of-the-line project for Seattle, and one that could pay off in a big way. If the move the bullpen ends up a must, Brentz could end up handling the ninth inning as a high-strikeout power lefty in the mold of a B.J. Ryan or Sean Doolittle. If only Doolittle could spare a portion of his command and control, put it in an envelope and mail it to Brentz… yeah.