On Saturday, the Toronto Blue Jays sent Rajai Davis to the disabled list with an injury he suffered in Friday night’s game and recalled starting pitcher Chad Jenkins from Double-A New Hampshire.
Jenkins started the season on the disabled list but has just rejoined the Fisher Cats and made one start before being recalled to the Blue Jays. If you remember, Jenkins gathered some major league experience last year, mostly out of the bullpen but he did make three starts towards the end of the year and two of them were quite decent.
Overall, the 25 year old was 1-3 with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.344 WHIP in 2012 for the Toronto Blue Jays after a season in which he went 5-9 with a 4.96 ERA and a 1.539 WHIP in New Hampshire.
The general consensus on Jenkins is that, because he’s a ground ball pitcher, he should get better results in the majors than in the minors due to having better fielders in the infield (although with the Blue Jays current defense, I’m not sure how true that will be). Jenkins’s lack of strikeouts has always been a knock on him, but, as Dave Cameron at Fangraphs wrote in 2009 shortly after Jenkins was drafted, the sinker ballers’ “ability to get outs is dismissed as a fluke because they don’t generate an above average amount of swinging strikes.” Cameron argues that in many cases, these pitchers fly under the radar until they prove they can consistently get people out at the major league level.
Basically, Jenkins’s reputation is as a strike-throwing ground-ball pitcher. His array of fastballs (classified as a 4-seamer and a 2-seamer) averaged between 90 and 91 mph while both his slider and changeup averaged around 83 mph. I’m actually excited about seeing him up in a Blue Jays uniform again. In 2012, the batted ball data says that he got 43.4% ground balls, which is a little low, but since it was his rookie year, and over a small sample, you can’t take it too seriously. He didn’t look bad at all last year and had a strong first start in New Hampshire after suffering a lat injury. The only troubling thing with Jenkins is the fact that his strikeout numbers have been falling since 2010. The big question with him is does he have enough stuff to play at the top level?