Kevin Ginkel Succeeds With Revamped Delivery
Coming off a disappointing 2017 season, righthander Kevin Ginkel was looking for answers. His velocity had dropped and effectiveness declined along with it. He also was having trouble bouncing back from outings.
"It was a bit of a struggle for me, health-wise and with my velocity,” Ginkel said. "I needed to work on some things.”
Ginkel found answers in the form of a revamped delivery, and after a breakout 2018 season the 24-year-old now rates as one of the Diamondbacks’ top relief prospects.
In 70 innings at high Class A Visalia and Double-A Jackson, Ginkel recorded a 1.41 ERA with 100 strikeouts. His strikeout rate of 12.9 per nine innings rated as the best in the organization among pitchers with at least 50 innings.
Ginkel, a 22nd-round pick in 2016 out of Arizona, said he worked with an independent pitching coach—he didn’t want to reveal the coach’s name—and found a way to use his lower half more in his delivery.
By focusing on his back side, the 6-foot-4 Ginkel produced some of the best extension of any pitcher in the minors, according to sources familiar with the TrackMan data.
"The extension part is really crucial because now I’m getting perceived velocity on my fastball and it allows it to play up,” he said. "Instead of 95 (mph), coming in it looks like 96 or 97. It just gives the fastball a little extra gear at the end.
"A lot of people think I’m jumping toward home plate, I guess. It doesn’t feel like I am. I’m not trying to.”
Ginkel said using his lower half more effectively took stress off his upper body, allowing him to recover more quickly from his outings.
It all added up to a highly impressive season. With several other D-backs relievers dealt in trades over the past year or so, Ginkel ranks with righthanders Yoan Lopez and Jimmie Sherfy as the better relief prospects in the system.
"To be honest, (the 2018) season was pretty amazing,” Ginkel said. "I didn’t think I would be this successful this season this quickly. I’m not trying to go out there with a goal to strike everyone out. Of course, that’s great, but I just want to get outs, put up zeroes and be a reliable reliever.”
Riley Smith Owes Development To An Injury
An injury in college changed the way Smith pitched, forcing him to locate pitches and develop his secondary stuff.
— Former big league outfielder Jonny Gomes, who served as a Rookie-level hitting coach for the D-backs last season, will take over as a roving outfield/baserunning coordinator in 2019.
— Hitting coordinator Chris Cron will shift into a managerial role at Triple-A Reno in 2019, putting him in position to potentially manage his son Kevin, a first baseman slated to open the year in Reno.