Joey Wentz, LHP, Double-A in 2019
This past season the Detroit Tigers brought in left-handed pitcher Joey Wentz as well as outfielder Travis Demeritte from the Atlanta Braves in the trade for closer Shane Greene. Wentz was a mid-twenty rated prospect for the Braves organization but has jumped up in the Tigers top ten after overcoming some injury bug that has stunted his development a little bit. The Tigers may have a solid southpaw in the making with Wentz, but time will tell.
Wentz stands in at 6-foot-5, weighing in at 210-pounds on the hill, being drafted out of high school in the first round, fortieth overall in the 2016 First-Year Amateur Player Draft by the Braves. Wentz is a Double-A affiliate prospect, who spent time with the Braves Double-A affiliate and stuck with the Double-A Erie staff with the other coveted arms.
His 2018 season had Wentz dealing with oblique issues that kept him performing at a lower level. In 2019, he made twenty starts with the Braves Double-A affiliate, and five more starts with the Tigers Double-A affiliate. Over all of his twenty-five starts in 2019, Wentz has a 7-8 record, a 4.20 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, forty-nine walks, and 137 strikeouts over 128.2 innings pitched.
With the Tigers affiliate, Wentz got into a groove to end off the season. He was 2-0, with a 2.10 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, only four walks, and thirty-seven strikeouts for the Double-A Erie affiliate. Wentz is a three-pitch mix guy, with a fastball, curveball, and changeup coming at hitters from an over the top left-handed arm slot, out of a slow delivery with a decent leg kick.
His fastball velocity sits 92-93 mph but can touch higher when he reaches back for that boost as some scouts say. His changeup is nasty; it comes in at 82-84 mph with arm-side run and sink that makes it disappear. The curveball is less exciting, being something that he could improve on, coming in at 73-76mph with some decent movement.
MLB Expectation: Since coming to the Detroit Tigers, Wentz has excelled and pitched incredibly well for the organization; if he continues this, there is no reason why he won’t be a future mid-rotation starter. Wentz should have what it takes to get there, no more injuries, and a good base for development as he continues to move through the ranks in the Detroit Tigers organization progressing into the big league rotation.