Early Monday afternoon the first blockbuster trade of the 2014-2015 offseason was completed with the St. Louis Cardinals sending a pair of right handed starting pitchers to Atlanta for Gold Glove right fielder Jason Heyward and a bullpen piece.
The Braves received RHP Shelby Miller and RHP Tyrell Jenkins in exchange for Heyward and RHP Jordan Walden. With just one year remaining on his contract, Heyward was rumored to be on the block as Atlanta looks to rebuild their rotation as both Ervin Santana and Aaron Harang are now free agents. Meanwhile the Cardinals, still reeling from the untimely death of top prospect Oscar Taveras, had to figure out how to fill their new hole in right field. The key components of the trade, Heyward and Miller, fill each team's needs quite well as the Cardinals also help shore the end of their bullpen up and the Braves get a chance to re-stock their farm system with the addition of Jenkins. Lets take a closer look at the only prospect involved in the deal, right hander Tyrell Jenkins.
RHP Tyrell Jenkins - Photo by Century Club (Flickr)
The St. Louis Cardinals drafted Jenkins in the supplemental first round, 50th overall in the 2010 draft out of Henderson High School in Henderson, Texas and signed him with a $1,300,000 bonus. The uber-athletic 6'4 204 pound right hander pitched for High A Palm Beach last year, posting a 3.28 ERA and 4.31 FIP through 13 starts and 74 innings. He only struck out 41 (13.3%) while issuing 23 free passes (7.4%) and allowing 74 hits and six home runs. Opposing hitters tagged Jenkins to the tune of a .263/.317/.384 triple slash after beginning his season in mid June. His late start was due to shoulder surgery he underwent in August of the 2013 season which limited him to just 59.1 innings that year before going under the knife.
Entering his age 22 season, Jenkins features a lively fastball that sits in the low to mid 90's, peaking at 96 mph this year with a nice hook and an average change up. Prior to the shoulder injury Jenkins could dial it up even higher, touching the high 90's in short stints. The curve ball comes in between 79-82 mph with good shape and sharp break when he's on. The change up sits in the low 80's and made huge strides in the last five months.
Photo by Chris Lee/St. Louis Post Dispatch
At the very least the Braves added a power bullpen arm with two weapons in a plus heater and above average curve. If he can't stay healthy or continue to develop that change up, that will be his likely destination. He has more than a puncher's chance to stick in the rotation though with a repeatable delivery due to his athleticism and the development of the ever-important change up. With the shoulder issues in the rear view mirror Jenkins is a good arm to keep an eye on, and he will probably join the new Braves affiliate, the Carolina Mudcats, in High A.