Jake Brigham is a member of the Express so I thought I’d take a moment to write about him. Listed at 6'3", 210lbs, Jake was a 6th Rounder out of Orlando in 2006. He’s one of those kids you root for ‘cause he’s earned his stripes at every level and even spent an entire year(’08) with the rehab crew recovering from Tommy John. Having spent all of 2011 and most of 2012 in Frisco, he was traded to the Cubs last July for Geo Soto. He made a couple of starts for their AA squad then was found to have some slight elbow issues and the off-the-record understanding is that Texas took him back and sent Chicago Barret Loux in his place. The inference is Texas didn’t want the perception they had sent the Cubbies slightly damaged goods and offered a “make-good” on the deal. Ya know nobody wants to be thought of as a shady cat. Anyway, on to the important stuff.
I’ve seen Jake pitch a bunch and he’s primarily a fastball/slider guy. When the slider is biting, it’s a plus pitch. Last night, he got all three of his swinging Ks in the 9th inning with the slider. It’s an 81-83mph offering and gets nice two-plane movement. He loaded the bases in last night’s final frame with Frisco ahead by a run. Against a lefty hitter with a 3-1 count, the scout next to me said “he’s(Jake) gonna try to drop that slider on his back foot.” Sure enough he threw a couple of nasty ones and the hitter was able to lay off on the first, but his attempt to check his swing on the 3-2 count failed and he was punched out by the plate umpire, game over. Jake has definitely lost a little velo on his FB over the last year and I don’t see any 93-95s anymore, as he sits 90-92. I’m not sure, frankly, if the extra velocity is still in him, but I think we’ll find out in AAA.
A graduate of Central Florida Christian Academy, Jake is a deeply spiritual man and according to Twitter, he and his wife are expecting their first child, a girl, later this year. I spoke with him for a few minutes following one of his outings in Surprise and he jokingly said he hoped to not see me for very long in Frisco. Mission accomplished.