Player: Jordan Brink
Drafted by: Chicago Cubs
DOB: 03/18/1993 (Age: 21)
Height/Weight: 6’1”, 200 lbs
School: Fresno State
Previously Drafted: Never
Recruited by Fresno State as a left-handed-hitting outfielder, Jordan Brink’s bat never developed as hoped and produced a .224/.292/.299 batting line with 81 strikeouts in 108 games through his first two seasons. However, with his bat faltering as a sophomore in 2013, Brink started receiving more opportunities on the mound as a reliever and eventually pitched his way into the team’s starting rotation by season’s end. The right-hander finished the year with a 3.92 ERA and 65 strikeouts in 59.2 innings.
Brink has struggled with his control this season—his first as a full-time starter—which is certainly understandable given his lack of durability and overall pitching experience as a former position player. Yet while his strikeout (6.75 K/9) and walk (4.62 BB/9) rates in 84.2 innings have left something to be desired, Brink still managed to post an impressive 2.87 ERA this season and kept the ball in the park (0.53 HR/9).
The right-hander doesn’t have a successful track record like most of the other college hurlers in this year’s class, but the combination of his swift adaptation to a full-time starting role, lack of mileage on his arm and ability to flash two plus pitches should have multiple teams targeting his upside (even if he doesn’t stick as a starter) outside the first round.
Full Scouting Report
Note: Numerical scores are on the conventional 20-80 scouting scale, with the current score first and projected score second.
Undersized right-hander at 6’1”, 200 pounds; good athlete with position-player background; 2013 season was his first as a full-time pitcher; works from over-the-top release point to create downhill plane toward plate; quick arm; delivery that involves some effort and raises questions about long-term durability as a starter.
Sits 92-95 mph with decent plane; fastball has good life but lacks significant movement; loses a few ticks as he gets deeper into the start; potential to sit in the mid-to-upper-90s when working in short bursts out of the bullpen.
Thrown with power in the low 80s and features sharp break due to high release point; pitch can have slider-like life at times, with tight spin and late bite; best swing-and-miss offering; has a tendency to overthrow the pitch and will spike.
Development of a consistent changeup will be crucial to success as a starter; necessary for turning a lineup over and neutralizing left-handed batters; athleticism and arm action suggests it could be at least fringe-average at maturity.
Well-below-average control highlighted by high walk rate this spring; works at the bottom of the zone and below when he’s at his best; good feel for changing hitters’ eye levels vertically; lacks velocity to consistently pitch up in the zone.
Command profile is a better fit in bullpen than rotation; effort in delivery will likely impede his ability to locate arsenal throughout strike zone; development of even average changeup command could improve entire arsenal.
MLB Player Comparison: Greg Holland
Brink doesn’t sit in the upper-90s or have an absolutely devastating breaking ball like Holland does, but the undersized right-hander does flash two plus pitches from a high arm slot and has the potential to emerge as impact arm out of the bullpen.
Projection: Late-inning reliever
Major Leagues ETA: Starter: 2017/Reliever: Early 2016
Chances of Signing: 90 percent
Brink’s draft stock has fallen over the course of the spring, as his increased workload as a starter has resulted in waning command and stuff. However, with two pitches that currently flash plus and little mileage on his arm, he should have plenty of teams considering him within the first five rounds.