A 20th overall pick out of Kennesaw State University in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, Chad Jenkins is currently 0-4 with the High-A Dunedin Blue Jays. He isn't too concerned with the number in his win column, however. Rather, he just wants to help his team be victorious.
"A win would be nice; I think anybody wants to win," Jenkins said. "But for me, as long as [I] can keep the team in position to win, then that's important for me because I know I did my job at that point if I can last long in the ballgame [and] get myself a quality start."
Although still early in the regular season, Jenkins has positive feelings towards how he's been playing.
"I feel great," he said. "I'm throwing some good games and I'm pretty happy."
Jenkins is coming off a 2010 season in which he started 13 games for Dunedin after getting moved up from Low-A Lansing mid-season. He was 2-6, and had a 4.33 ERA while striking out 42 and walking 18. Putting it simply, the 23-year-old Jenkins was not impressed by his performance last season.
"Last year was rough. It was a long year," he said. "I had some good times and obviously I had some really bad times, but I learn from it. This year started out a lot better so hopefully I can keep that rolling."
Pitching Coach Darold Knowles explained that despite Jenkins' winless record so far in 2011, he is content with his performance.
"His record is not indicative of how he's pitched," Knowles said. "He's 0-4 and obviously has pitched a lot better than that. I am pleased and I think he is too because he's keeping us in ballgames; he's doing what he has to do."
In his second year playing professional baseball, Jenkins is still in the early stages of his career. While the lack of wins may affect the confidence of some younger pitchers, Coach Knowles said Jenkins is above that.
"He's a little more mature than a young guy at this level. He understands how it is, he understands what he has to do and he knows that he's pitched a lot better than his record indicates," said Knowles.
Jenkins described himself as more a command pitcher than anything else, stating that he doesn't overpower hitters, but instead tries to induce a lot of groundballs. Standing at 6-foot4 and 235 pounds, his repertoire consists of a low 90s sinking fastball, as well as a slider and changeup. Jenkins said that his changeup has been the pitch he counts on when looking for an out.
"The changeup's been working really well for me," he said. "I've gotten a lot of outs with it."
With his changeup coming into form, Jenkins said that he was focused on his location in the zone as well his working on his slider during spring training. It happens to be his slider which Coach Knowles thinks will make the difference for Jenkins moving forward in his young career.
"It has a tendency sometimes [to get] a little flat," said Knowles. "He's aware of it and we're working on it. He's just trying to get good depth on the slider and when he maintains the consistency of it, I think everything should go smoothly for him."
For Jenkins, he wants to work on staying in command of his pitches in hopes of moving up to the next stage of the Blue Jays' minor league system.
"I need to hit my spots a lot more often," Jenkins said. "If I can do that, hopefully I can move up."
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