The Royals had Jake Brentz from the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Brentz signed a minor league contract with the Kansas City Royals on August 20, 2019. He pitched 5.1 innings of 3.38 ERA baseball with 8.4 K/9 for the Double-A Northwest Arkansas Naturals in 2019.
Brentz was added to the Royals’ 60-man player pool on July 19, 2020, as a replacement for the minor leagues, when the Minor League Baseball season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Brentz got invited to the Royals’ Spring Training in 2021. Brentz’s contract was picked to the 40-man roster on April 1, 2021, and he was named to the Royals Opening Day squad.
After a strong Spring Training in 2021, Jake Brentz became a surprising breakout talent.
He was drafted in the 11th round of the 2013 draft and spent the next six years toiling in the minor leagues for three different teams before being cut by the Pirates and taken on by the Royals.
He was renowned throughout his minor league career as a pitcher who could get a lot of strikeouts but couldn’t prevent walks.
In 2021, none of that changed, but he started striking out and walking less batters, so it seemed reasonable to give him a try in a Kansas City bullpen that lacked proven stars and veterans who weren’t well past his prime.
He began the season doing precisely what the Royals had hoped for: he struck out a lot of batters, walked a lot of batters, and performed just enough to be useful.
Despite the fact that he was walking guys, his opponents had a hard time hitting him. He allowed only 20 hits in 36.2 innings through the first three months of the season. Y
ou can get away with a few walks when you strike out over a quarter of the batters you face and only give up one hit per two innings.
Mike Matheny swiftly welcomed him into his inner circle, and he progressed from left-handed specialist to general-purpose setup man.