Lone Star Dugout Q&A: Jayce Tingler (Part 1)

The Texas Rangers recently wrapped up another Fall Instructional League, and Lone Star Dugout caught up with Dominican Summer League and instructs manager Jayce Tingler for a two-part Q&A session.

Jason Cole: I wanted to talk to you about Instructional League since you were managing the team in games this year. When I was out there, the talk was all about Jurickson Profar. Can you give me your general impressions on him?

Jayce Tingler: I think he has real leadership skills and real leadership ability. Being able to be 16, yet he takes charge of the diamond, and that's what you want out of your shortstop. He's a very smart kid obviously–speaks four languages. That's part of the education system over there in Curacao. But he's also, in my opinion, a student of the game. Not only knowing where he is supposed to be, but also knowing where other guys on the field should be. I think that helps him out.

Cole: You mentioned him being a leader on the field and a student of the game, and that's what you want out of a shortstop. Is that one of the reasons both he and the Rangers liked him as an infielder?

Tingler: I'm guessing that's a big reason. He's kind of an animal. The kid wants to play everyday, and that's part of who he is. Obviously, on the mound, that would take away part of who he is. He's a player–he's a kid that loves to play the game. As you know, pitching–you're going to affect one of every four or five games. But he has the ability and he has the makeup to affect the game every night.

Cole: You guys signed another player from Curacao in 16-year-old outfielder Chris Garcia, who was also at instructs. Does he speak four languages as well?

Tingler: Yeah. That's just part of the education down there. For example, second grade may be Spanish, first grade may be English, then they also learn French and of course their own Papiamentu.

Cole: At this point, I don't think anybody doubts Profar's play in the field. But how advanced is he at the plate? Assuming he makes his debut in the states next summer, will he be able to hold his own?

Tingler: After what he showed at instructs, I'd say yeah, he'd be able to hold his own.

Sardinas has plenty of growing to do.
Cole: Another guy who got big money was Venezuelan shortstop Luis Sardinas. He was overshadowed by Profar at instructs, but he looked to be very talented as well. Can you talk a little about his skillset?

Tingler: His skillset is very good. He looks like he's going to be a kid that plays the shortstop position for awhile. He's very fluid, he's quick on his feet, good arm, runs very well, switch-hitter like Profar. We're just going to have to wait and let his body develop a little more.

Profar is a little more physical at the age of 16. Sardinas is a little more of a wiry frame. A big part of both their development is going to be in the gym and the weight room–how they develop physically, muscle-wise, speed-wise, and all that. And that's a process. That's a process of them being 16 right now.

Cole: I only saw Sardinas briefly, but the speed looked to be one of his better tools. Is he a guy that would rank among the faster players in the system?

Tingler: I think so. He'd probably project to be there. You catch him on a good day and he can flat-out scoot. You'll also see him another day when the legs are dragging–he's still a plus runner. But I think he has the ability to be a plus runner down the road.

Cole: One pitcher I got to catch for the first time was tall right-hander David Perez. I assume you also got to watch him pitch in the Dominican Republic after he signed?

Tingler: Yeah, Perez came to us–he kind of signed late. He was a big July 2 guy, and for whatever reason, some teams backed out. I think he had maybe a little fatigue in the arm–just dead arm–during the July 2 period. Our scouts over there stayed on it and as he got some rest, the velocity came back to what we had seen earlier in the year.

He's big, he looks the part. He's every bit of 6-foot-5. He's big-boned, strong. He's going to throw hard. Again, he's going to be a process of being able to command two-to-three pitches and getting it over the plate consistently. But the tools, the body–it's all there. He's definitely an exciting guy coming over.

Cole: At least in the two innings I saw, it looked like he was pounding the bottom half of the strike zone pretty well–especially for a young, tall guy. Was that the same thing you'd been noticing in the Dominican, or was that not the norm?

Tingler: I would say Danny Clark and his pitching staff did a great job, because when we had seen him, he was a good, hard thrower with a live arm. And you could tell he's a good enough athlete to be able to–he's going to start commanding the ball. I think that's probably Danny Clark and his staff really putting an emphasis on attacking the bottom part of the zone.

And that's where a lot of our young kids saw a different–maybe they could get away with stuff over the plate and up a little bit in the Dominican. But as soon as you come over here, and especially in instructs, if that ball is thigh-high and up, most of those guys are doing damage. That's probably an adjustment that Danny made, and Perez is a pretty smart kid. He is figuring out, ‘I've got to get the ball down.' You could see it in the last couple of outings that he made that adjustment, which was great to see.

Cole: Speaking of pitchability, I know Denny Peralta ran away with the points system for pitchers at instructs, which takes into account things like first-pitch strikes, making plays in the field, ground balls, and things like that. After watching him, he's definitely not a guy that is going to overpower people, so what allowed him to win that system on a staff with a whole lot of high-ceiling talent?

Tingler: He did in instructs the same thing he did for us in the Dominican. He threw the ball over the plate–three pitches for a strike. He kept his fastball down, and the curveball has got enough bite to keep everyone off-balance. Then he can throw a changeup with pretty good arm action of a fastball.

He just mixes it up, pitches to contact, trusts his defense back there, and really doesn't get too excited or overmatched or anything like that. He just makes quality pitch after quality pitch, and it worked out well for him at instructs.

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