Internal Bullpen Options Available to the Blue Jays
Aug 10, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Chad Jenkins (64) throws a pitch during the eighteenth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Rogers Centre. The Toronto Blue Jays won 6-5. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
This right-handed sinkerballer was drafted by the organization during the 1st round out of Kennesaw State University in 2009 and obviously, as with any 1st rounder, he came with high expectations. The pitcher affectionately known as ‘Jenknutz’ struggled to stand-out as a starter, but he eventually made his way to Toronto in 2012 as a reliever and has had some success in that role. Over the past three seasons and 68.1 innings in which he as appeared as a reliever, he has posted a 3.04ERA and a collective WHIP of 1.204.
Besides the appealing stat totals, the attractive aspect about Jenkins is that he still has the stamina to start and carry a team for multiple innings. Eight of the total 21 appearances he pitched in the majors last year was longer than a single inning, including a six inning performance in Detroit in which he shutdown the Tigers and supported the Blue Jays to a victory in extra innings. His stuff is nothing to sneeze at either. Jenkins doesn’t have the sort of lights-out fastball velocity that scouts love, but he is not light on velocity either and his sinkerball is a very effective and quite capable of neutralizing threats on the base paths with inning-ending double plays. He also has a plus-slider and fringe-changeup in his repertoire, making him an average 3-pitch and very capable 2-pitch reliever.
Jenkins suffered an unfortunate early end to his season last year when he fractured his pitching hand during batting practice. However, he underwent surgery in late September to correct the injury and it should not be a concern going forward. If he is able to build on his several solid, but short, major league stints and carry his success into spring training this upcoming season, Jenkins should be on track to provide some important innings either as a middle reliever or mop-up man.