In his first professional season, Venezuelan pitcher Jesus Tinoco
had a mixed bag of results. As a 17-year-old, Tinoco posted a 4.14 ERA and 1.32 WHIP while striking out 26 batters across 37 innings in the Dominican Summer League last year.
The 6-foot-4 right-hander then pitched in a pair of games with the GCL Blue Jays towards the end of the rookie ball season, striking out eight batters in six innings of work.
He has the potential to be a power pitcher, as he has a fastball that typically ranges between 92 and 94 MPH, but can reach 97. In addition to the fastball, Tinoco features a changeup and mid-to-high 70's curveball.
"I have the confidence in the curve right now," Tinoco said through a translator. "I know I can use it. What I want is to be able to use the changeup a little more so I can get to the curve more in games."
Blue Jays pitching coach Willie Collazo has been very impressed with what he has seen from Tinoco in his second year at Dunedin.
"He has a great arm and we like what we see," Collazo said. "He's been coming along. He's had a couple of good outings and an okay outing, but he's been doing really well. Very promising.
"He has a live fastball and a really good 12-6 curveball. With him, we're working on the command changeup and throwing it more."
In addition to working on changeup, Tinoco has focused on tightening up his delivery.
"When I first got here, my mechanics weren't 100 out of 100, but they're getting better," Tinoco said. "I'm trying to stop from opening up a little bit too early and getting my foot down. It's not all the way there yet, but it's getting there."
After getting knocked around in his first outing of the season, Tinoco had been impressive in his next three outings – scattering five hits across ten innings while giving up just two earned runs. In addition, Tinoco has illustrated remarkable command, striking out thirteen batters and issuing just three walks during those three appearances.
With this season being Tinoco's first full year at Dunedin, Collazo stressed the importance for the 18-year-old hurler to develop a routine and continue to get in as many reps as possible.
"He didn't have anything like a structure and then all of a sudden he's coming here and has to learn the language and how to do everything the right way. It's just repeating all of that every day and having a side [session] the second day after a game.
"It's just building into a routine every five or six days," Collazo continued. "It's just pitching, repeating deliveries, working on a slide step. Just game stuff. He has the talent and we like what we see. It's just putting all that together and getting him to repeat that every single day."
Tinoco expressed that he is working hard to try and get a promotion out of the GCL and that as long as he is in Dunedin, preparation and focus will be key. Being 18 years old and away from home, Tinoco explained that he has some extra motivation to move up to the next level of minor league ball.
"I'm very happy, but at the same time it's important to get the motivation to try a little harder and get higher. It's different because you sacrifice a lot to come to a different country. You leave your family back at home, but you're doing it for a good thing," Tinoco concluded.
DUNEDIN, FL - Known for having a great arm and some plus stuff, right-hander Jesus Tinoco has had varying degrees of success in his young career thus far. He's learning to harness his high level of talent down in the Gulf Coast League and there are times where it is quite evident that his progress is coming along.
Jesus Tinoco has been showing some plus stuff but he's learning to harness his game in the GCL.