Tyrell Jenkins’ outing on Monday for low Class A Quad Cities provided some of the good, the bad and the ugly. Sometimes, that’s what you’ll get from a 19-year-old pitching prospect. Fortunately, the good outweighed everything else on this day.
Jenkins has worked to smooth out the raw delivery he came out of high school with when he was a Cardinals sandwich-round pick in 2010. One of the goals of those efforts was to give him better control, and the results were there last year, as Jenkins walked just 13 hitters in 56 innings for Rookie-level Johnson City. His last two starts have seen some wildness creep in though. He walked four in 5 2/3 innings on May 1. Last night, he issued another four walks in six innings, bringing his total to 11 in 23 innings on the year, nearly matching his total from last season. That was the bad from yesterday.
The ugly came in the third inning, when Jenkins committed a throwing error on a pickoff attempt, threw two wild pitches and gave up three hits, leading to two Peoria runs. In between all those miscues, the three outs Jenkins recorded in that inning were all on strikeouts, and that was more like what the rest of his night was like.
Arm strength isn’t a question with Jenkins, who can throw in the mid-90s and sit in the low 90s. He’s also developing a curveball and changeup, and he baffled Peoria’s hitters for most of his start Monday. Jenkins struck out a career-high 10 hitters over six innings, and he’s up to 23 in 23 innings.
When he didn’t get himself in trouble, he was almost untouchable, as has been the case for much of the young season. Outside of the disastrous third inning, he allowed only one hit in his other five innings of work. He also did settle down after that third inning, retiring eight of the last nine men he faced before exiting after the sixth. For the year, he’s allowed just 14 hits and a .173 average, and he dropped his ERA to 1.96 after five starts.