Tampa Bay has selected UC Santa Barbara towering LHP Ben Brecht with the 158th overall pick in the 2019 draft.
Atypical of pitchers his size, Brecht appears to have great control of his body and the zone. He was ranked alongside previous Rays draft pick RHP Graeme Stinson by Baseball America in the mid-80’s on the draft board.
Here’s the full report from Baseball America:
Brecht assumed the role of UC Santa Barbara’s top starter this spring and went 10-1, 3.76 with 101 strikeouts and 18 walks in 88.2 innings to carry the Gauchos to the Big West Conference title. A 36th-round pick of the Orioles out of high school, Brecht intrigues as a 6-foot-7 lefthander with premium strike-throwing ability.
His fastball sometimes sits at 90 mph and touches 93-94 mph, but at other times he sits 87-88 mph and tops out at 90 mph. Regardless of his velocity, Brecht’s heater gets on hitters quickly because his long limbs give him deception and angle that make it difficult to pick the ball up out of his hand. His fastball plays up with life at the top of the zone and gets swings and misses.
Brecht’s best secondary is a changeup that is an average raw pitch but plays above-average to plus with his deception. He lands his sweeping, upper-70s slider for strikes to keep it effective despite fringe-average grades.
Brecht’s excellent feel to pitch ties everything together. With his size, deception and overall control of three pitches, evaluators consider Brecht a safe bet to reach the majors as a back-end starter.
The trend of pitchable college guys continues in these early rounds, bringing the Rays third round talent in the fifth. For comparison, Ryan Yarbrough was a 4th rounder out of Old Dominion.
You can follow Brecht on social media @benbrecht31