Saturday, April 16, 2011

#15: RHP Chad Jenkins

Name: Stephen Chadwick Jenkins
Position: Right-handed SP
Acquired: 1st round, 20th overall (2009)
Opening Day age: 23
Height/weight: 6'4", 235 lbs
Best/worst tool: Sinker/changeup

Scouting Report: Jenkins' primary pitch is a hard sinking fastball that sits at 90-93 mph, and when necessary he can turn it into a 4-seam fastball and reach back for 96 mph. Jenkins also throws a good slider, which when paired with his sinker makes him unfair against right handed hitters and creates a ton of ground balls. His third pitch is a changeup which is still a work in progress. Jenkins has a repeatable delivery and solid command of all three pitches.

2010 Stats: 141.2 IP, 160 H, 62 ER, 11 HR, 31 BB, 106 K
1.75 GO/AO, 3.94 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 6.73 K/9

2010 Analysis: Jenkins split the 2010 season equally between A-class Lansing and High-A Dunedin, making 13 starts apiece. His results were rather disappointing to me given his polish coming out of college and being 22 years old in leagues full of 20 and 21 year olds. He was hit around in both leagues to the tune of a .279 opposing batting average. What saved his season from being a complete disaster was his command and sinking pitches, as he was able to contain the walks and home runs, limiting the damage. I was unable to watch Jenkins' starts and PitchFX data for the minor leagues it sketchy at best, but I believe his struggles may be atleast partly attributed to his changeup. He may have been throwing it excessively in game situations in order to develop it further.

Future outlook: Jenkins' future has two major concerns in my opinion; his changeup and his weight. To be a successful starter in the major leagues, you need 3 solid pitches and you must be able to work against both righties and lefties. His sinker/slider combo is devastating to righties, but for him to be effective against lefties he will need his changeup to reach another level. Luckily for him, Blue Jays coaches are exceptional with changeups. The other concern, his weight, is up to Jenkins to fix. He's always been a "soft" guy, but he's gained 10 pounds since being drafted, and if you saw him in the spring, he looked BIG. Jenkins is dancing a fine line between "horse" and "cow" right now. You want your starters to be big, strong dudes who can pitch into the 6th, 7th, and 8th inning on a regular basis (see: Matt Cain, Brett Anderson). If Jenkins is unable to control his weight and consistently gets tired in the 5th or 6th, he may find himself in the bullpen before too long.

Perfect world projection: Borderline #2/3 starter, if his changeup becomes an above average offering and he cuts down to 220 or 225 lbs.

Worst case scenario: Late inning reliever, working the sinker/slider combo effectively to righties, relying on 4-seamer to blow lefties away.

Most likely outcome: Back of the rotation starter who pitches 200-210 uninspiring innings.

Chad Jenkins has started the 2011 season in Dunedin, and I think if he hasn't reached New Hampshire by the end of May, something has gone horribly wrong. He's currently on track to reach the majors in the second half of 2012.

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