TCN 2012 Cards Prospect #8: Tyrell Jenkins

The talented but young right-hander seems ready to make the leap to full-season ball in 2012.

The Cardinal Nation/ Player Profile
(including links to full 2011 and career stats)

2011 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Thw Signed Round
9 RHS 7/20/1992 6-4 180 R R 2010 1s

School: Henderson High School, Texas

Selected 2011 stats

JC 4 2 3.86 11 11 0 56 63 33 3 13 55 1.83 0.296

Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)

CariocaCardinal (8): Tyrell Jenkins is the one player who seems to be consistently ranked higher by national prospect watchers than by those who specifically follow just the Cardinals. Consistently ranked a top 100 player nationally (or mentioned as a near miss by those who don't), Jenkins' ranking by those who follow the team seem to be colored more by a sense of ‘show me' rather than just basing the ranking on his raw athleticism and potential.

Has Jenkins actually shown people and they haven't noticed? Of the top 15 pitchers in the Appalachian League (based on ERA), Jenkins had the second-highest ground ball rate, the second-highest strikeout rate per inning pitched, and the third-best K:BB ratio. He did all of that while being the youngest of all the pitchers compared (younger than most by several years). He also had a low home run rate with a FIP of just 3.36.

One interesting fact about Jenkins was that he gave up nearly 40% more total runs than earned runs. Not that it is definitive, but that probably kept him from pitching deeper into games.

One thing I am looking forward to next year is Jenkins pitching full-season ball. I am anxious to see what kind of numbers he can put up, but more importantly, I look forward to seeing his numbers on a comparative basis to other Cardinals top pitching prospects such as Shelby Miller, Carlos Martinez and Trevor Rosenthal. That comparison should soon be possible, as I expect Jenkins to start and pitch most of the season at Quad Cities as the others did in their first years of full-season ball. At some point, Jenkins will most likely be expected to jump two levels in one year, but I am doubtful that it will be in 2012.

Message board community (8): Jenkins had an excellent run in rookie ball, yet still slid from 6th (last year) to 8th (this year) in the community's rankings. He received one vote to be the fourth prospect.

Jenkins was described as athletic but raw when he was drafted, making his results at Johnson City particularly impressive. A young prospect (he turned 19 in July), he walked only 2.09 per 9 innings, the best ratio of the four JC pitchers with more than 10 starts. He fanned 55 in 56 innings, the second highest K total on the team. Jenkins' 3.86 ERA might not look that strong, but he suffered from quite bad luck, with a .380 BABIP. The righty pitcher did nearly as well against lefties (.763 OPS against) as righties (.725).

Jenkins has received considerable attention from people outside the Cards' system. John Sickels and Keith Law both love him. Scout ranked him among the top 100 prospects in all of baseball. Johnson City is a long way from St. Louis, but Jenkins' trip between the two might be quite a sight. - Gagliano

Brian Walton (8): It is rarity when all three of a player's votes are identical and therefore to his group score, but that is the case here.

Jenkins has a low-effort delivery that allows him to dial up his 93-94 MPH fastball to 96. His curve shows a tight break and is a solid out pitch while his changeup remains a work in progress. Jenkins' location is good though his mechanics are inconsistent, especially when he tires.

What perhaps encouraged me the most in looking at Jenkins' 2012 numbers was his BABIP of .380. To say he was very unlucky is putting it mildly. Another positive is that there was only a difference of .008 in batting average against him between left-handed and right-handed hitters. Further, he kept the ball in the park, with only three homers hit against him, or less than one every 18 innings.

As noted above, Jenkins had a high unearned run count. He was more to blame than most despite being very athletic. Jenkins could use a little more work in drills as he made two throwing errors and one pickoff error in his 56 innings last season. No other JC starter had more than one miscue. On the positive side, Jenkins picked off three runners, but that was only third-best on the staff.

Of course, those are minor tuning points as I looked for areas of improvement to suggest to a still very young pitcher with a boatload of potential. Jenkins should be leading Quad Cities' 2012 opening day rotation. Perhaps like Carlos Martinez the year prior, he could earn an in-season promotion to Palm Beach if all goes well. On the other hand, if he spends his entire age 19-20 season in the Midwest League, it would hardly be a setback.

Our 2012 top 40 countdown continues: To see the list of top Cardinals prospects announced to date and remaining article schedule, click here. You can also read each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections.

There's more! Want access to the all details behind our Cardinals prospect rankings in our "Forty Days, Forty Nights, Forty Prospects" feature here at The Cardinal Nation?

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