Prospect Watch: Jesus Tinoco
Jesus Tinoco is one of many promising young arms in the Toronto Blue Jays system. He is now a member of the Lansing Lugnuts starting rotation and has turned some heads, despite his 0-2 record. There are times that we get too caught up in the numbers, I’m guilty of it everyday when I setup my fantasy teams, but we need to look past the numbers when looking at Jesus Tinoco.
Signed by the Blue Jays in 2011 as a 16-year-old, Tinoco start his professional career as a 17-year-old in the Dominican Summer League and 2 appearances in the Gulf Coast League in 2012.
The following year, in 2013, Jesus would spend trying to conquer the GCL, but after 26 games, 16 starts, Tinoco owned a record of 1-10 and an ERA flirting around 5. The strike out numbers were there, he walked too many, but he kept the ball on the ground (2.18 GO/AO).
Last year, as a 19-year-old, Tinoco suited up for Bluefield in the Appalachian League. He made a dozen starts and walked away with his second career win. After 28 professional starts and 39 total appearances, Tinoco started 2015 with a record of 2-19.
Which brings us to 2015. Tinoco’s made three starts for the Lansing Lugnuts in May, with his first coming on the 6th. He went 4 strong innings, zero runs on 4 hits, 2 walks, 3 K and a no-decision. Not too bad considering he jumped over Vancouver. He has lost his last two starts allowing 3 runs over 3.2IP and 4 runs over 6 IP.
Watching his last start, I noticed that he has a smooth delivery which he struggled to repeat over its entirety. I saw one of his starts last year and he looks much more controlled this year. He continues to throw a heavy sinking fastball that he commands in the bottom of the zone and can throw it in the high 90’s.
He throws a nice 12-6 curve which he throws in the low 80’s and some as low as the high 70’s. His change will decide his success, in my opinion. He throws the change in the mid-to-high 80’s. The change helps keep batters honest, so they can’t sit on his plus fastball or his potentially plus curve.
Unfortunately, his change and fastball looses movement and his wasn’t able to get on top of his pitches as he seemed to get tire. This isn’t uncommon in 20 year-old pitchers and should be fixed as he continues to add strength and starts to repeat his delivery.
Jesus Tinoco is drawing Henderson Alvarez comparisons, who made his Blue Jays début as a 21-year-old in 2011 the same year Tinoco was signed. Alvarez was also a 16-year-old international free-agent signing out of Venezuela. Both pitchers throw heavy sinking fastballs with good velocity. Henderson was stronger and more advanced as a 20-year-old. He already had a 100 plus inning season under his belt and had better strike out to walk numbers.
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At 6’4″ and 190 lbs, Jesus Tinoco has the body of a power pitcher. He is getting his first taste of full-season baseball and hasn’t looked terrible. It isn’t clear if he will stay with the Lansing Lugnuts all season or if he will join the Vancouver Canadians when their season begins on June 18th. I suppose that all depends on how he fairs over the next few weeks.
If Tinoco is able to repeat his delivery and consistently command his secondary pitches than this 20-year-old could join fellow 2011 signers Alberto Tirado, Jairo Labourt, and Dawel Lugo in Dunedin.
For your viewing pleasure I leave you with a little something to wet your palette. Two for the price of one. Jesus Tinoco pitching against another blue jays prospect Richard Urena.