FanPost

Rotation Candidate: Chad Jenkins

Well, Jesse Chavez got another start and it did not go well for the one-time Ace of the Las Vegas 51s rotation. 6 ER on the outing is not going to get the job done even if he didn't walk every other batter he faced. The options aren't exactly overwhelming at this point in time but I wouldn't mind having someone new implode before our eyes. Is that somebody former 1st-round pick, Chad Jenkins (He of the 5.01 ERA and 5.25 FIP)?

While the results for both our low-ceiling, safe college picks (Jenkins, McGuire) have been underwhelming to say the least in 2012, the results for Jenkins have been a little more encouraging as of late. Jenkins was drafted as a innings-eating groundballer who would hopefully progress quickly through the minors and give the Jays a bottom-of-the-rotation starter. Though he has never been dominant since being drafted, he has been a solid innings-eater who in his minors career has induced 1.38 groundball outs for every out in the air. He pitched 141.2 innings in '10, 167.2 in '11, but has just 70 IP thus far this year in about half the starts. For a groundballer, he's allowed far too many home runs (his HR/9 has doubled over from his time in New Hampshire in '11. Not helping matters has been a slight spike in his BB/9 (2.7 - career 2.2) and a corresponding drop in his K/9 (4.0 - career 6.1). He's also been giving up more H/9 than his career average which has always been rather high but which was at its lowest last year (the "Hechavarria effect"?). Unfortunately, I can't just explain this away by his BABIP which stands at .294.

However, there is reason for hope for the 24-year old who has a 3 ER in his last 3 starts (19 IP, 14 H, 1 HR, 7 BB, 11 K, <.200 BAA, GO>AO). While the walks and strikeouts aren't exactly where you would like them to be, I tend to believe that some of those hits would become outs if he had an MLB-quality defence behind him (Brett Lawrie is a demi-God according WAR remember). I'm not saying he would be a success story that would help lead us out of this dark period and into the playoffs but I do think he could induce a bunch of groundballs and eat some innings for us. Let's not for a second believe that what our bullpen has been doing for us lately is sustainable. They will not be able to continue giving us 5 innings a night until the end of the season and if some of the 'proven' guys get hurt we won't be able to turn them into Colby Rasmus-es at the end of July.

Jenkins may be no more successful than the Chavez' or Laffeys of the world, but I think we're well aware of what they're going to bring to the table. I've heard some people saying that they wouldn't like to see his development hurt by bringing him up to be shelled by MLB hitters, but really for a low-ceiling guy like Jenkins, would we really be losing all that much if he for some reason became psychologically damaged beyond repair by a couple of rough outings in the Majors? He doesn't exactly have all the time in the world to make an impact for the Jays as the higher-ceilinged crop is likely 2-3 years away with another wave behind them.

Perhaps I'm a little too optimistic on Jenkins but really my expectations aren't very high at all at this point. I just feel like he's worth a shot at this point since we're not exactly flush with alternatives. Thoughts?

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