Blue Jays scouting director Jon Lalonde held a press conference after the team’s first-round selection of Kennesaw State righthander Chad Jenkins. Here is what he had to say . . .
"Chad is, in a lot of ways, everything we look for in a young picher," Lalonde said. "He’s big, he’s physical, he has a big, durable body. We love the fact that he throws a ton of strikes, he sinks the ball, his velocity is consistently in the 90-94 range, he works comfortably in that range. He locates to both sides of the plate, he has a plus slider that’s 86-87 miles an hour and a feel for a changeup. Probably one the of the most important things is that he’s a great competitor—he was the conference pitcher of the year. We love pitchers that throw strikes and that’s what he is. But he’s not just a strike thrower, he has power stuff and he really embodies everything we look for in a young pitcher."
Lalonde said the Blue Jays had a pair of eyes on the big righthander for a majority of his starts this year.
"We saw him pitch a whole lot," Lalonde said. "I saw him right before Easter, really really liked what I saw and I think we saw every one of his starts after that with someone. Matt Briggs, our area scout, has seen him pitch multiple times this year. We saw him pitch a lot—especially here down the stretch."
Lalonde said they were happy Jenkins was available for the 20th selection.
"We just played the board," he said. "We thought there was a chance he could get to us—you can’t be certain at 20 because there are so many pieces that can fall, but he was one of our targeted guys and when he got to us, it was a no-brainer for us. We did the work on him, we scouted him hard all year, and we were thrilled to get him there."
Jenkins went 8-1, 2.54 for the Owls this year. He had 98 strikeouts and just 15 walks over 92 innings and Lalonde isn’t concerned about the level of competition Jenkins faced.
"Stuff is stuff, whether you’re pitching in the Southeastern Conference or Sunday slow pitch," Lalonde said. "90-93 is 90-93. It would have been tougher if you’re evaluating a hitter from that conference, but we really love Chad’s stuff."
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