Molina Rounding Into Form

When Nestor Molina was first signed to a major league contract in 2006, at only 17 years old, he dreamed of being a big league outfielder. That dream was quickly shot down when Molina was switched from first base to third base and finally, three years ago, made the switch to pitcher.

That's fine for Molina though, a breaking ball pitcher who was an instant hit on the mound, has finally made the move to the Double-A level. Now, a breaking ball pitcher with pinpoint accuracy, Molina's nasty splitter, dangling curveball, and overall precision pitching have him on the rise in Toronto's farm system.

This year, Molina had an 11-3 record and a miniscule 2.52 ERA in a combined 22 games entering Thursday's contest. His ability to win games hasn't gone overlooked and neither has his ability to pitch deep into every game he pitches.

"He's a workhorse and he showed that in his first game," New Hampshire Fisher Cats pitching coach Pete Walker said prior to Thursday's game. "He's got great stuff, he's a great competitor, and he's got great ability."

In his first Double-A game, Molina showed that his transformation to pitcher was one that has really paid off for the Jays. In six innings of work, Molina struck out eight and allowed one earned run, picking up the win for his new team.

"You can tell he' a competitor on the mound," said Walker. "He can always keep us in the game."

The Jay's are hoping they'll be able to say the same thing about Molina in upcoming years, but for now, Molina is just hoping to gain experience and learn on a new level.

"I need to work here," Molina said of the Double-A level. "I need to try to throw my pitches in the zone and try to get my pitches down. I think that's what I have to do here at the moment."

For Molina, experience is the key, blessed with extraordinary athleticism, he has already developed four pitches that he's able to throw for strikes whenever he wants. Now, he just has learn when to use them and to get ahead in the count.

Perhaps the scariest thing about Molina is his splitter, a pitch that he can throw so naturally, he doesn't even practice it. His coaches have caught on to this too.

"I don't need to practice my splitter," said Molina. "That's something natural. I throw that pitch however I want, whenever I want, for a ball or a strike. I don't think I need to throw it at all. I don't throw the pitch in the bullpen already; I know I can throw it where I want, when I want."

For now, Molina's goal is to be able to throw his curveball as effectively as his splitter so each pitch can set each other up. His curveball is alarmingly good though for how much he's thrown it throughout his career.

"I think my second strongest pitch is my curveball," said Molina. "I have to learn it, it's a new pitch. The half-season from here on out, I have to practice throwing it in games. This is my first time throwing the curve ball a lot."

For Walker, the curveball is what has stood out to him as Molina's most improved weapon since Spring Training, when Walker first saw Molina pitch, an instance that made a big impression on the coach.

"I saw him in Spring Training but I didn't get to work with him much," said Walker. "I had a chance to see him pitch. He's the type of guy we've been looking forward to seeing him up here and he's been everything that he's been advertised, and hopefully he can keep that up."

For now, Molina needs to keep up the hard work that's made him such a special talent and with the right amount of work into his breaking balls. If he is able to do that, he will surely blossom into a major league pitcher according to Walker.

"I think, he's got great tempo and he does a lot of good things well," said Walker. "I think the main thing right now is to refine his breaking ball, the curveball so he can throw it for strikes and also take out his own for strikeouts.

"You know it's continued work ethic, refining game at any level, if that's at Double-A, Triple-A, or the majors, it's getting better and being more consistent, and being able to execute your pitches. I see a pitcher that's definitely on the fast track."


Future Jays Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nThat's fine for Molina though, a breaking ball pitcher who was an instant hit on the mound, has finally made the move to the Double-A level. Now, a breaking ball pitcher with pinpoint accuracy, Molina's nasty splitter, dangling curveball, and overall precision pitching have him on the rise in Toronto's farm system.
\r\n
\r\nThis year, Molina had an 11-3 record and a miniscule 2.52 ERA in a combined 22 games entering Thursday's contest. His ability to win games hasn't gone overlooked and neither has his ability to pitch deep into every game he pitches.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's a workhorse and he showed that in his first game,\" New Hampshire Fisher Cats pitching coach Pete Walker said prior to Thursday's game. \"He's got great stuff, he's a great competitor, and he's got great ability.\"
\r\n
\r\nIn his first Double-A game, Molina showed that his transformation to pitcher was one that has really paid off for the Jays. In six innings of work, Molina struck out eight and allowed one earned run, picking up the win for his new team.
\r\n
\r\n\"You can tell he' a competitor on the mound,\" said Walker. \"He can always keep us in the game.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe Jay's are hoping they'll be able to say the same thing about Molina in upcoming years, but for now, Molina is just hoping to gain experience and learn on a new level.
\r\n
\r\n\"I need to work here,\" Molina said of the Double-A level. \"I need to try to throw my pitches in the zone and try to get my pitches down. I think that's what I have to do here at the moment.\"
\r\n
\r\nFor Molina, experience is the key, blessed with extraordinary athleticism, he has already developed four pitches that he's able to throw for strikes whenever he wants. Now, he just has learn when to use them and to get ahead in the count.
\r\n
\r\nPerhaps the scariest thing about Molina is his splitter, a pitch that he can throw so naturally, he doesn't even practice it. His coaches have caught on to this too.
\r\n
\r\n\"I don't need to practice my splitter,\" said Molina. \"That's something natural. I throw that pitch however I want, whenever I want, for a ball or a strike. I don't think I need to throw it at all. I don't throw the pitch in the bullpen already; I know I can throw it where I want, when I want.\"
\r\n
\r\nFor now, Molina's goal is to be able to throw his curveball as effectively as his splitter so each pitch can set each other up. His curveball is alarmingly good though for how much he's thrown it throughout his career.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think my second strongest pitch is my curveball,\" said Molina. \"I have to learn it, it's a new pitch. The half-season from here on out, I have to practice throwing it in games. This is my first time throwing the curve ball a lot.\"
\r\n
\r\nFor Walker, the curveball is what has stood out to him as Molina's most improved weapon since Spring Training, when Walker first saw Molina pitch, an instance that made a big impression on the coach.
\r\n
\r\n\"I saw him in Spring Training but I didn't get to work with him much,\" said Walker. \"I had a chance to see him pitch. He's the type of guy we've been looking forward to seeing him up here and he's been everything that he's been advertised, and hopefully he can keep that up.\"
\r\n
\r\nFor now, Molina needs to keep up the hard work that's made him such a special talent and with the right amount of work into his breaking balls. If he is able to do that, he will surely blossom into a major league pitcher according to Walker.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think, he's got great tempo and he does a lot of good things well,\" said Walker. \"I think the main thing right now is to refine his breaking ball, the curveball so he can throw it for strikes and also take out his own for strikeouts.
\r\n
\r\n\"You know it's continued work ethic, refining game at any level, if that's at Double-A, Triple-A, or the majors, it's getting better and being more consistent, and being able to execute your pitches. I see a pitcher that's definitely on the fast track.\"
\r\n
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