Denny Bentley, a left-handed pitcher from Williamstown, was drafted in the 33rd round of the MLB draft this spring
The old adage in baseball is that you can never have too much pitching. The Minnesota Twins took that to heart when they drafted Williamstown’s Denny Bentley in the 33rd round of the MLB Draft last month.
Bentley recalls his junior season in high school as his favorite year. That year he went 10–0 on the mound with a 1.01 earned run average. The team set a school record that year for making it the farthest in the state playoffs — it won South Jersey Group IV but lost in the state final.
Upon graduation, Bentley was left with a tough decision on where to go to college. He decided on Howard College in Big Spring, Texas.
“I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go,” Bentley said. “I talked to [Coach] Raul Martinez on the phone and he made it sound like home. Everything is great over there, it paid off for me now that I’m with the Twins.”
He described his college career and how his ERA doesn’t reflect how he performed. “My ERA was pretty high because of the altitude in west Texas,” he explained. “They call it ‘hitter’s region’ for a reason.”
Bentley said some games in that league have scores as high as 24–22 because balls will carry out of the ballpark.
“You have to shake it off and move on,” he said. “If you keep thinking about it [it] will hurt you in the long run.”
Bentley believes two of his strengths as a pitcher are locating his fastball and keeping runners off balance.
“I’m pretty good at holding guys on by changing my looks and timing,” he added, saying the change-up is his favorite pitch.
One aspect of his game that he can improve on is his off-speed and breaking pitches.
He models his game after Houston Astros’ pitcher Dallas Keuchel, who, like Bentley, is left-handed. The noted similarity between the two is they both induce a lot of ground balls.
Bentley outlined the time leading up to the MLB Draft. He mentioned his coach told him he had a good chance of getting drafted. Leading up to the draft, he had a lot of dialogue with the New York Mets before they stopped talking to him. On day two of the draft, the Minnesota Twins reached out to him.
“The scout called me and asked if I would have my phone on me and said he might call me tomorrow,” Bentley said. “So I made sure to set an alarm to make sure I didn’t oversleep.”
“It felt like the longest day ever,” he added. “When I heard my name on the live MLB tracker my mom went crazy. It was crazy hearing my name, it was the best feeling in the world. All the hard work paid off. Now there’s even more hard work to get to the majors.”
Despite growing up a dedicated Phillies fan, Bentley is now on board with the Twins. He’s currently playing in the Gulf Coast League for rookies and first-year players in Fort Myers, Fla. The last game of the season is Aug. 25 but if the team makes the playoffs the season will run into September.