- Full name Brian Michael Bass
- Born 01/06/1982 in Pinehurst, NC
- Profile Ht.: 6'2" / Wt.: 215 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Robert E. Lee
- Debut 04/01/2008
- Drafted in the 6th round (164th overall) by the Kansas City Royals in 2000.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Bass has been around, making appearances on Royals prospect lists since he was drafted in 2000, ranking as high as No. 8 after the 2003 season. Shoulder problems interrupted his 2004 and 2006 campaigns, and the Royals let him depart as a minor league free agent. Though he had just four career relief appearances against 140 starts, Minnesota signed him for its Triple-A bullpen. Bass struggled, both with the new role and with shoulder tenderness. As the season went along, he got a chance to start, and his work ethic put him in position to take advantage of it. He showed his old fastball, sitting in the low 90s and touching plenty of 94s and 95s. His slider was a plus pitch late in the year, a hard mid-80s breaking ball with depth. His changeup was fringe-average but played up because he threw quality strikes with everything. The Twins added him to the 40-man roster after the season and he pitched winter ball in Venezuela. Depending on how the big league roster shakes out, Bass will have a chance to make the Opening Day rotation.
The Arizona Fall League has proven a desert oasis for Bass. An elbow strain limited him to 32 innings in 2004, but he regained his fastball velocity in the AFL. Bass struggled with his mound tempo in 2005, working too slowly and giving up too many hits and walks after getting ahead in early counts. A quicker pace made him more aggressive and gave him the confidence to finish hitters by the end of the year, and Bass opened the AFL with 12 scoreless innings over three appearances and didn't walk a batter in 24 innings in Arizona. His fastball sits around 90 mph and reaches 93 with sinking action that makes it a plus pitch at times. Bass' knee-buckling curveball and tight slider are both solid offerings that are different enough to give hitters trouble, and he also works in a changeup. At his best, he throws all four pitches for strikes. Bass earned a spot on Team USA's Olympic qualifying team and could compete for a job in a thin Kansas City rotation during spring training. He'd probably be better off with some time in Triple-A, however.
After a breakout 2003 in high Class A, when his fastball jumped from 87-89 mph to the low 90s and his curveball improved from below- to above-average, Bass made Kansas City's 40-man roster and ranked seventh on this list. Shoulder problems ruined his 2004 season, however, as he didn't make his first start until May and took the mound just nine times all season. The Royals were encouraged by how he bounced back pitching in relief in the Arizona Fall League, as he regained the fastball and curveball he had shown the previous year. Bass' success comes from locating the ball to both sides of the plate and keeping it down, enticing loads of groundouts. He still needs to make progress with his changeup and slider. Assuming Bass remains healthy, he'll begin 2005 in Double-A with the chance for a swift promotion to Triple-A.
Bass treaded water in low Class A for a year and a half before mental and physical maturation allowed him to go 4-3, 3.64 over the second half in 2002. He continued his success last year, ranking fourth in the Carolina League in ERA, strikeouts and innings pitched. He took a no-hitter into the ninth inning against Winston-Salem before surrendering a two-out home run. Bass' stuff has improved dramatically since 2002. His fastball went from 87-89 mph to topping out at 93-94, while his curveball moved from below-average to plus and became the system's best. He shows great command to both sides of the plate and keeps the ball down in the zone, eliciting plenty of groundouts. He's a good athlete with sound mechanics and fields his position well. Bass doesn't have a great changeup, but it's improving and eventually should be an average weapon against lefties. He's also working to refine his slider. Bass announced himself as a prospect in 2003 and was added to the 40-man roster in the offseason. This year will offer more evidence as to whether he can be a middle-of-the-rotation starter as he moves from a pitcher's paradise in Wilmington to a hitter's haven in Wichita.