Rarely do you see 40th round draft picks standout. Even more rarely do they stand out enough to be get featured in a series of season reviews. But that's exactly what 2013 40th round pick Tyler Brunnemann has forced us to do. I mean just look at at those N's.
It's simply impossible to 1.86 ERA in 48 1/3 innings along with 51 strikeouts.
Sure, he wasn't the star starter that the manager handed the ball to every 4-5 days depending how the tandem rotation played out. Sure, he wasn't the man that walked out in the ninth charged to hold the slim lead.
However, what he was a consistent shutdown reliever that could be relied upon with the best of the staff.
Armed with a fastball that can touch the low-90s, low-70's curve, and a change up, Brunnemann doesn't wow you on paper. However, scouting reports on paper don't win games. There's more to a pitcher than pure stuff on paper. He's one of those guys whose stuff plays up because it's difficult to pick up. He has a very distracting delivery that ends with him falling off the mound to the first base side. When I say fall, it's literal. He has to put his glove side down to the ground to regain balance. There's a lot of moving parts and a lot of intent.
You would expect that with a delivery like his he would struggle with control and command. However, he has been able to have control. He had a 5.3% walk-rate in Quad Cities. That is very impressive. He also had a 27.3% strikeout rate which is also very impressive. However, a 30.4% ground ball rate paints a slightly different picture.
Strikeout pitchers usually do have lower ground ball rates, making those stats unsurprising. However, that makes him vulnerable to variances in HR/FB rates. But, he's shown success and has shown that he can sit batters down. He lead the team (outside of rehab assignments) in WHIP making him good at limiting base runners. He'll need to continue that at higher levels in order to have success.