Though their farm system is still without question one of baseball's most shallow, the Milwaukee Brewers have drawn a substantial amount of excitement over the past few months with respect to the young talent residing their minor league affiliates. One of the few youngsters that have made this all possible is right-handed pitching prospect Taylor Jungmann.
At last June's Major League Baseball's annual first-year player draft, general manager Doug Melvin, assistant GM Gord Ash and director of amateur scouting Bruce Seid selected the 6'6", 220 lb fire-balling right-hander out of the University of Texas with the 12th overall selection—the first of two first-round picks the club maintained (the other being 15th overall).
Jungmann, coming off one heck of a junior season with the Longhorns where he thoroughly dominated the Big 12 Conference, was one of the most highly-touted and most coveted pitching prospects featured in last summer's draft.
Scouts salivated over his physical attributes, durability, multiple plus-pitch repertoire and knowledge of the game coming into the draft. Needless to say, the Brewers were ecstatic when the lanky right-hander was still available when they went on the clock toward the middle of the first round.
Fast forward through roughly nine months of speculation and anticipation, and Brewers fans are finally getting a glimpse at their prized first-round selection. Jungmann began his inaugural campaign with the organization as a non-roster invitee in spring training this past Wednesday against the Chicago White Sox, tossing two innings of impressive ball, striking out one, walking a pair and allowing one unearned run.
After an impressive first outing against major league hitting, it's safe to say Brewers fans are hooked on "Jungmann Mania" (as if they weren't already). Now, the knee-jerk reaction of many fans is to try and learn more about Jungmann's game.
Fortunately, I'm here to provide some insight. Let's take an in-depth look at Jungmann's game with a full-fledged scouting report on Milwaukee's new number one prospect.
Here is a brief statistical history of what Jungmann was able to accomplish during his three seasons at the University of Texas.
|College Totals (3 years)||32||9||1.85||45||356.0||356||0.97||5.92||9.01|
Jungmann was one of the most highly touted young talents coming out of Georgetown High School prior to his 2009 freshman season with the Longhorns and its easy to see why.
Jungmann came into the Longhorns' program and was able to contribute right from the get-go and at a remarkable clip. His impressive production throughout the 2009 season was enough for him to be named to Baseball America's Freshman All-America First Team.
The final two seasons at Texas were nothing short of spectacular for Jungmann, as well.
Jungmann struck out nearly 10 batters per nine innings pitched in his sophomore season while allowing under seven hits. Unlike his freshman season, though, all of his appearances would come as a starter and that could carry over into his unprecedented 2011 junior campaign, taking home the 2011 Dick Howser Award for being named college baseball's top player last season.
Physical Makeup and Delivery
Weight: 220 pounds
Jungmann's tall, lanky build was a great asset for him throughout his college career and that will continue to bode well for him as he progresses through the Brewers' system. He doesn't have to put too much stress on his arm to get velocity on his fastball and that, in turn, has allowed him to go deep into his starts on a consistent basis.
Jungmann works out of a three quarter arm slot and that consequently enables his curveball to have more "sweeping" action rather than simply a curveball that drops off as it approaches the hitter. He does have good movement on his fastball, but I'd say that's more a product of his grip (more on that to come in the coming months) rather than his arm slot.
Jungmann’s delivery is fast-paced and fluid from both the windup and stretch. He throws his body weight into every pitch and that adds more velocity to his pitches. As you can see in the snapshot on the right, Jungmann has great tilt and scouts love to see that out of an already promising young pitcher.
It’s clear that the pitching coaches at the University of Texas have made Jungmann conscious of his mechanics. He does all the subtle pre-pitch routines correctly and that is one of the biggest reasons why he should dart through Milwaukee’s system in a timely fashion.
Jungmann’s fastball is one of the biggest overarching assets to his game. His fastball consistently sits in the mid-90s with instances of upper-90s stuff and has proven that he’s capable of sustaining his above-average velocity deep into each start.
However, his ability to work both sides of the plate is what really separates him from many other young fire-ballers. Scouts have raved over his command, particularly in regard to his fastball, since he first walked onto campus in the Fall of 2009 and it’s only gotten better since.
Aside from his fastball, Jungmann offers two, above-average off-speed pitches, the first being his curveball. As I’ve already alluded to, Jungmann’s three quarter arm slot allows his curveball to have more “sweeping” action rather than simply a “fall-off-the-table” type breaking pitch. He gets a lot of swings-and-misses with this pitch and it's definitely above-average.
His second off-speed offering his his changeup, which also grades out as being above-average. He throws it with great efficiency and induces a fair amount of swings-and-misses. Since Jungmann’s delivery is exceptionally repeatable, he is able to fool batters consistently when he throws his changeup.
You don’t have to be an accomplished scout to know how that Jungmann has an extremely high MLB ceiling and that he’s presumably destined to be a back-of-the rotation starter in Milwaukee. Between his physical makeup, durability, three plus-average pitches and collegiate success, Jungmann is the kind of young pitcher who can really make a difference in any MLB starting rotation.
I see him spending the entire 2012 season in the minors, eventually moving his way up to double-A Huntsville by year’s end. The jury is out from that point on, though, the Brewers could certainly ponder utilizing his services out of the bullpen by the mid-point of the 2013 season and he could very well challenge for the No. 4 spot by the end of that season as well.