After a torrid start to his senior year at Shawnee Mission East that catapulted Wentz into first round discussion early this spring, the former UVA commit saw a slight downtick in stuff across some late season games, however, ultimately allowing him to slip down to the Braves as a sandwich pick (40th overall), where he received a signing bonus worth just over $3 million (which should end up as one of the top 15 deals in the entire class).
Wentz impressed in his first start in the Florida complexes and struggled some in his second, ultimately going three innings in each outing while allowing just one hit and four walks while racking up six strikeouts. In his first start, Wentz’s stuff showed well with his fastball working into the low-90s and playing effectively to both sides of the plate. Both his curve and change flashed as above-average offerings and project as potential plus offerings at maturity. Additionally, the Kansas native stood out for his impressive mound presence and willingness to attack the zone.
His second start saw the heater dip down to the upper-80s with an evaluator noting Wentz seemed visibly uncomfortable, perhaps due to the heat. The production matched the account, as Wentz had more difficulty hitting his spots and ended up walking three and striking out just one, though the Blue Jays Rookie club still managed just one hit over the three innings of work.
There isn’t much reason for the Braves to push Wentz developmentally, but given the quality of his stuff, his makeup, and advanced feel, Wentz could find himself advancing quickly through the system over the next couple of seasons. There’s further room for growth in his stuff, as well, thanks to the ease with which he works and the room still remaining in his projectable frame. Wentz has the potential to grow into a physically imposing front-end starter with power stuff and relentless approach.