SJU star pitcher Tim Brennan is rising in Texas organization

Matt Leon
August 27, 2019 - 12:44 pm
Tim Brennan

Matthew Edwards/Down East Wood Ducks

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Tim Brennan has wasted no time making a name for himself in pro baseball. 

The right-handed pitcher was a star at Saint Joseph's University and impressed the Texas Rangers to the point where they selected him in the seventh round of the June 2018 MLB Draft.

In 2019, he has won 11 games and already been promoted to High-A, where he is in the starting rotation for the Down East Wood Ducks based in Kinston, North Carolina.

"I feel pretty good," he said. "It's the first time throwing this many innings in a year, so it's definitely an adjustment. But you just have to take it day-by-day and pitch-by-pitch, and that's what's helped me this year so far."

Brennan's 11-5 record is accompanied by an ERA of 3.57. On 118 1⁄3 innings of work, he has struck out 76 batters, while walking just 14. He is 4.2 with a 3.57 ERA since his promotion to Down East, but adjusting to the Carolina League hasn't been simple.

"I would say the biggest adjustment was the hitters here are a lot more disciplined," he said. "That's the biggest thing — is trying to get outs within the strike zone here. You don't have too many guys chasing a ton of balls in the dirt."

Prior to his time on Hawk Hill, Brennan, a Philadelphia native, graduated from Holy Ghost Prep High School in Bensalem. He said he enjoyed returning to the area to pitch in Wilmington this past weekend. He started Saturday's game against the Blue Rocks at Frawley Stadium. He got a no-decision, but truly cherished the chance to get to throw in front of a lot friends and family.

"That was really special for me," he said. "It doesn't make baseball any less important, but it just emphasizes the fact that if something happened where baseball was taken away from me, I'll be OK. It was really nice to see all those people here."

This was actually a bit of a delayed homecoming, put in motion by his mid-season promotion.

"My next start when I was in Hickory would have been in Lakewood (New Jersey)," he said, "which is about an hour away as well. Had a bunch of people coming to that one and then I got promoted and I wasn't allowed to say that I got promoted, I just had to text everybody and tell them, 'Hey, I'm not pitching anymore.' And everybody's like, 'Why? Why?' 

"I was getting a hard time from all my buddies and some of my old coaches and stuff like that. So it was nice that I actually was in the rotation when we came up here (to Wilmington), because this is as close as it gets. There's nowhere else that I'll play that's any closer."

Brennan went 20-9 with a 2.79 ERA during his years at St. Joe's, and he said his time on Hawk Hill was truly well spent.

"The biggest thing that helped me there was probably just to have a plan and be committed to it," he added. "Just in your routines every day. (Head coach Fritz Hamburg), he's helped me so much. The big thing that helped me there was, when I was in high school, you just work outside on hitters, Fritz really helped me out a lot going in, especially on right-handers, and using the sinker, down and in, to try and get ground balls, and I think that's translated here. 

"I don't know exactly what the stats are, but I've been getting the ground ball numbers I've been looking for, and I think that's helped a lot."

Brennan and the Wood Ducks are in the midst of a series with Frederick that runs through Thursday.

You can follow Matt Leon on Twitter @MattLeon1060.