Our third “Players to Watch in 2020” piece is on one of the newest players in the Orioles organization. Acquired in the Dylan Bundy trade, RHP Kyle Brnovich is one of the more intriguing names in the Orioles system.
Players to Watch: Kyle Brnovich
Orioles fans are most likely pretty familiar with the name of Kyle Brnovich, as he was one of four prospects that went to Baltimore from the Angels for Dylan Bundy. Baseball fans, though, should get familiar with his name, as he was one of the more interesting players from this past year’s draft.
Brnovich was drafted in the eighth round by the Angels in the 2019 MLB Draft out of Elon. Brnovich was one of three high-profile pitchers eligible for this past year’s draft from Elon. The other two were RHP George Kirby, who was selected by the Mariners in the first round, and RHP Ty Adcock, who was also taken by Seattle and was drafted in the eighth round.
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Brnovich made waves during his college years thanks to the numbers he put up while he was at Elon. He struck out 110 batters last season at Elon, and recorded 147 K’s in 2018, which set a Elon single-season record. Brnovich also struck out 103 batters in his freshman season, and was one of two NCAA Division I pitchers from 2017-2019 to strike out over 100 batters in each of those three seasons. The other one was Rice’s Matt Canterino, who was taken by the Twins in the second round this past June.
Brnovich go-to pitch is a hard knuckle curve that ranges from the low to mid 80’s. His curve has received plus plus grades, and it proved to be a pitch that was almost unstoppable during him time with the Phoenix. Brnovich also has a fastball that ranges from the high 80’s to the low 90’s, and it looks to be an average pitch. However, his fastball ran up to the mid 90’s while he worked in relief in summer ball with Team USA during the summer of 2018. Brnovich also has a third pitch in his arsenal, a changeup which sits in the low 80’s.
While Brnovich certainly put up the numbers while at Elon, scouts weren’t completely sold on him. Evaluators weren’t in love with his mechanics, as he has short arm action and moves his head a bit in his delivery. Still, Brnovich performed quite well in his three seasons with Elon. But what’s on tap for him in 2020?
What to Expect From Brnovich in 2020
Brnovich will most likely start next season with either Delmarva (A) or Frederick (A+). But, since the former righty from Elon didn’t pitch last season in the Minors, it’s more likely he starts in the South Atlantic League. The 22-year old has a strong chance of moving up the lower levels quickly thanks to his fastball-knuckle curve combo, but the big question is whether he can be a starter at the pro level.
Personally, I think he’s a reliever long-term. Brnovich’s fastball should play up a bit better as a reliever, and his curve has the potential to be a strong putout pitch. But the Orioles will most likely give him every chance to start, and I’d expect him to at least start the 2020 season in the rotation of the Shorebirds.
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