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Cleaner Delivery Carries Jesus Tinoco To 40-Man Roster

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After an impressive beginning in the Rockies’ organization followed by a stunning regression, 22-year-old righthander Jesus Tinoco, his delivery much improved, recently joined the 40-man roster.

Tinoco went 5-0, 1.80 in seven starts at low Class A Asheville in 2015 after being acquired in the July trade that sent shortstop Troy Tulowitzki to the Blue Jays. But in his first spring training with the Rockies, Tinoco tried too hard to impress, and his delivery went haywire. After running up a 14.85 ERA in four starts at high Class A Modesto, Tinoco was demoted to Asheville where delivery issues resulted in him going 3-8, 5.63 in 16 starts.

"It was an extreme falloff to the first-base side (of the mound) during his follow through to the point where he was taking at times a couple steps toward first base because it was so violent,” farm director Zach Wilson said. "He would leave the ball arm side. He wasn’t able to finish his pitches, because his whole body was headed towards first base and his arm was dragging.”

In spring training in 2017, Wilson said "the only thing we talked about” with Tinoco was his delivery, "and it very slowly started to get better.”

Tinoco went 11-4, 4.67 last year in 24 starts at high Class A Lancaster but averaged just 6.9 strikeouts per nine innings. However, he went 4-0, 3.03 in four August starts and averaged 10 strikeouts per nine.

Tinoco, who signed out of Venezuela in 2011, throws a 94-95 mph fastball that tops at 97 with some tailing late life at times. His 78-79 mph curveball is occasionally slurvy but has late, quick, downward action on a 10-4 plane. His 88-90 mph slider has a late, hard break but is inconsistent. He has a good feel for his 88-90 mph changeup, a work in progress that should be a solid-average pitch.

"He’s got strikeout stuff,” Wilson said. "He cleaned up his delivery substantially (in 2017). He’s much more square to the plate as he follows through. And it’s allowed him to really command his fastball better, which is allowing his secondary pitches to play up.”

ROCKY ROADS

• The Rockies will field a second team in the Dominican Summer League this year with 35 active players. The second DSL team will be managed by Julio Campos, who scouts Puerto Rico for the Rockies and is in uniform at instructional league and pre-spring training programs in the Dominican Republic. Michael Ramirez will be the hitting coach. He caught for four seasons in the Rockies’ organization and was the bullpen catcher at Triple-A Albuquerque the past couple years. A pitching coach will be hired.

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Jesus Tinoco's Future Role Still Undecided

After having success out of the bullpen in the Arizona Fall League, Tinoco could eventually feature in Colorado as either a starter or reliever.

• John Pierson was hired as the development supervisor at short-season Boise. He spent the past two seasons as the Braves' minor league hitting coordinator after 12 seasons with the Marlins, mostly as field coordinator, and eight seasons prior to that with the Cubs organization in hitting roles.

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