Jeffrey Benjamin Wendelken
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 0", Weight 220 lb.
- School Middle Georgia College
- High School South Effingham High School
- Debut May 8, 2016
Pitcher J.B. Wendelken pitched in multiple organizations before making his major league debut in 2016.
He was taken by the Boston Red Sox in the 13th round of the 2012 amateur draft, a few picks ahead of second baseman Devon Travis. He was 2-0 with 28 strikeouts, a 0.656 WHIP and a 1.27 ERA in 21 1/3 innings his first pro year and 2-2 with 12 saves and a 3.42 ERA his second. On July 30th of his sophomore campaign, he was involved in a big three-team trade that sent him, pitcher Frankie Montas and minor league middle infielder Cleuluis Rondon from the Red Sox to the Chicago White Sox and shortstop José Iglesias to the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers sent right fielder Avisail Garcia to the White Sox and pitcher Brayan Villarreal to the Red Sox. The White Sox sent pitcher Jake Peavy to the Red Sox.
Tried as a starter in 2014, Wendelken struggled to a 7-10, 5.26 pitching line in 27 starts for the Winston-Salem Dash. Though he allowed 181 hits, he still exhibited good control by walking just 33 batters in 145 1/3 innings, while striking out 129 men. Relieving again, he split 2015 between the Birmingham Barons and Triple-A Charlotte Knights and went 6-2 with a 3.20 ERA in 39 games, striking out 69 in 59 innings. In his first taste of Triple-A, he had a 4.50 ERA in 12 games. He also pitched for the Glendale Desert Dogs of the Arizona Fall League that year, posting a 30.38 ERA in 2 2/3 innings.
On December 9, 2015, Wendelken was traded with minor league pitcher Zack Erwin to the Oakland Athletics for infielder Brett Lawrie. After beginning 2016 with the Nashville Sounds, he was promoted to the majors and made his debut on May 8th against the Baltimore Orioles. He struggled, allowing four runs in 1 1/3 innings. His next appearance, on May 9th against the Red Sox, wasn't much better: in an inning of work, he allowed another run on a hit and a walk. He ended his first big league campaign with an ERA of 9.95 in 8 games, all in relief.