Name: Jacob Brigham
Position: Starting Pitcher
DOB: February 10, 1988
This article originally appeared on November 13, 2007
In his first full season of professional baseball, Jacob Brigham had an extremely successful year. The 20-year-old right-handed pitcher made 15 starts with the Spokane Indians and posted a 3.16 ERA.
But not long into his stint with the Rangers' fall instructional league team in Arizona, Brigham learned that he would need to undergo Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.
The news was certainly a surprise to Brigham, who felt healthy at instructs.
"I just sort of got into instructs and I felt really good," said Brigham. "I was throwing harder than I had the whole season. I felt really good.
"I just thought it was a little dead arm maybe so they shut me down and they got an MRI just sort of as precaution. Nobody really thought anything was really wrong. It ended up being torn."
Brigham specifically was working to improve his fastball command and his changeup before the injury. The Florida native had pitched in two games and was pleased with his progress.
"I pitched in two games at instructs," he said. "I made great improvements and it was a really good instructs before I found out I was having surgery."
After going under the knife on Wednesday, Brigham plans to report to the club's minor league complex in Surprise, Ariz., the next day.
"I'll be in Arizona right after surgery for a solid year of rehab," explained Brigham. "I have surgery on Wednesday and I'll be out there on Thursday."
The pitcher's rehab schedule will begin light and slowly grow until he is able to throw a baseball once more.
"Just sort of making sure the healing process is going well and making sure the surgery went well as far as infection and all that," said Brigham when asked about going to Arizona. "After about a month, we'll start doing rehab and various small things. Four months I believe is when I first pick up a baseball."
Despite the 2008 season-ending injury, Brigham remains confident that he will stay the same on the mound.
"I see myself as a power pitcher and I'm still going to be a power pitcher," he said. "I don't think [the surgery] will affect me. I'm going to learn a lot from it of course. It's going to make me stronger as a pitcher more than anything.
"I'll definitely be back, that's for sure."
Repertoire: Fastball, Curveball, Changeup.
Brigham's raw stuff is without a doubt his most impressive asset. The righty fell to the sixth round of the 2006 MLB Draft because of a disappointing senior year of high school that included a drop in velocity. But Brigham was able to re-gain that velocity last season. After sitting at just 88 MPH in his pro debut, Brigham's fastball was consistently 92 MPH in 2007. The pitch ranged anywhere between 90-95 MPH. Brigham also throws a big-breaking curveball, which has the potential to be a plus pitch. The curve was inconsistent at times last summer, but it is one of the better breaking pitches in the system when he is able to command it. Brigham has been working on a changeup that sits between 80-84 MPH. Like most pitchers out of high school, Brigham was never really forced to focus on a changeup until he was drafted. The pitch is a work-in-progress.
Projection: Brigham has the talent to become a middle-of-the-rotation starter, but he must get consistent with all his pitches. His recent Tommy John surgery also puts a cloud of uncertainty over his career, as you never know what it will do to a pitcher's stuff. The right-hander struggled with command at times last season – largely because his stuff had improved so much since the 2006 season. Brigham's control did improve as he was able to harness his stuff. With a good body, above-average stuff, and strong results thus far, it's safe to say Brigham would have been much higher on this year's Top 50 had he remained healthy.
2008 Outlook: The prospect will spend his entire 2008 season with the rehab crew in Surprise, Arizona. Brigham will spend his time working out and getting the range of motion back into his arm until he is able to throw a baseball once again. Expect Brigham to be back sometime during the 2009 campaign.
|2006||AZL Rangers (RK)||2-6||58.1||54||19||58||3.70|