Name: Jaycob Brugman
Height/Weight: 6’0’’, 195
How Acquired: Selected in the 17th round of the 2013 MLB draft
Jaycob Brugman isn’t flashy, yet his steady rise through the Oakland A’s system over the past three years leaves him within range of a big league audition in the next year or two.
Brugman was the A’s 17th-round pick in 2013 out of Brigham Young University. The then-20-year-old spent his pro debut season with the Vermont Lake Monsters. He finished third on the team in hitting behind the Lake Monsters’ co-MVPs that season (Boog Powell and B.J. Boyd) and earned an invite to the A’s fall Instructional League.
Brugman’s first full season opened a lot of eyes. He began the year with the Low-A Beloit Snappers and hit .278/.371/.484 with eight homers in 70 games before earning a mid-season promotion to High-A Stockton. Brugman really turned on the jets with the Ports, homering 13 times in 50 games (including a stretch of nine in nine games) and finishing with a .282/.332/.533 line for Stockton. Brugman’s 21 homers put him third in the A’s organization in 2014 behind only top power prospects Matt Olson and Renato Nunez.
Jaycob Brugman Stats
Despite the 21 homers, Brugman considered himself more of a line-drive doubles hitter than a homerun hitter. He anticipated that his homer totals would drop with Double-A Midland in 2015, and focused more on improving his contact rate after striking out 115 times in 443 at-bats in 2014.
In many ways, Brugman’s 2015 season went just as he had anticipated it would. His homer total dropped to just six for the year and his SLG fell to .382. However, he increased his walk rate while decreasing his strike-out rate significantly. Brugman finished the year with a .260/.343/.382 line in 500 at-bats. He also filled a number of roles for the RockHounds up-and-down the line-up, logging significant time at every batting order spot except fourth, fifth and ninth. Defensively, Brugman played the majority of his games in left field, although he did see significant time in center and right, as well.
Brugman has always been a streaky hitter and he saved his best hot streak for the post-season. He homered in four straight games as the RockHounds won the Texas League title and finished his six-game post-season stretch with a .429/.520/1.143 line. During the fall, Brugman suited up for the Mesa Solar Sox of the Arizona Fall League. He didn’t homer in his 64 at-bats with the Solar Sox, but Brugman did have three doubles and two triples.
Although the RockHounds’ home park is one of the toughest on left-handed hitters in the Texas League, Brugman actually hit significantly better at home (823 OPS with a .443 SLG) than he did on the road (637 OPS with a .328 SLG). He has always had an up-the-middle, opposite-field approach, something that helped Brugman find success in Citibank Field.
Brugman doesn’t have one standout tool, but he has a balanced skill-set. He is capable of hitting for average and working a walk and has gap power that can translate into homerun power when he is seeing the ball particularly well. Brugman isn’t a burner, but he runs well and takes smart routes in the outfield, allowing him to play all three positions. Brugman doesn’t project as a starting centerfielder in the big leagues, but he is the kind of player who could be thrown out there in a pinch. Brugman’s throwing arm is solid-average. On the bases, he has enough speed to swipe a few bags when teams aren’t paying attention.
A’s Assistant General Manager Billy Owens reaches back to the 1980s for a comparison for Brugman’s style of play.
“From a comparison standpoint, I’m a little bit older than sometimes the rest of the crew. I came up in the Orioles system and I remember Joe Orsulak, who played for the Orioles in the ‘80s and ‘90s,” Owens said. “Jaycob has a similar skillset to Joe. He can play all three outfield positions. He can move the ball around at the plate. He has occasional steam where he can hurt you with an extra-base hit or a homer.
“Just a really infectious, positive attitude. He runs the bases well. Not necessarily very fast, but a good base-runner. He has good all-around ability and he has a chance to keep working hard and hopefully ascend [to the big leagues]. You never know, he could surprise.”
While the A’s are deep in the upper levels at the corner outfield positions, Oakland is relatively thin in the outfield. Barring a significant change in the depth chart, Brugman should receive an opportunity to move up to Triple-A at the start of the season.