SAN DIEGO — Jurrangelo Cijntje is one of the most intriguing prospects in the second annual Draft Combine. He was also the most impressive player on the court at Petco Park in a game featuring high schoolers on Wednesday.
A pitcher from Champagnat Catholic School (Hialeah, Fla.), Cijntje naturally throws left-handed, but he has better things on the right side. He struck out five of six batters he faced in the third inning — two as a left-hander and three as a right-hander — giving up a walk as a left-hander.
With an appraisal bonus, teams fielded 14- and 15-man lineups, pitchers faced five or six batters per inning, regardless of the outs recorded, and batters who walked remained at home plate for another at home. stick with a pinched runner sent out first. . Cijntje’s Team Stripes lost 3-1 to Team Stars in a game that included six hits and 32 strikeouts over six innings.
Cijntje worked with a 94-96 mph fastball and a 79-80 mph break ball with 2600 rpm on the right side, and an 88-92 mph heater and 75-76 mph breaker with 2400 rpm / min from the left. It’s pretty typical of the natural southpaw, who has a reversible glove that he adjusts depending on the hitter.
“It’s just a great opportunity to come here and be in an MLB stadium on the mound,” Cijntje said. “I just wanted to show everyone what I can do and just have fun.”
Cijntje started throwing right-handed at the age of 6 because he wanted to emulate his father, Mechangelo, who played professionally in the Netherlands, and liked to wear his father’s glove. Mechangelo drove nails into baseballs and had Jurrangelo throw a tire to try and make the ball stick, a drill designed to improve his accuracy. He first gained notoriety for his switch throwing when he played for Curacao in the 2016 Little League World Series.
“I’m natural on the left side, but I think I throw harder on the right side because I was [catching and playing shortstop] my whole life,” Cijntje said. “Two years ago I moved to Miami and started throwing with my left hand and my coach thought I was a good two-handed thrower, so that’s how I started again. working on my left hand.”
Pat Venditte, the only truly ambidextrous pitcher in modern Major League history, reached out to Cijntje on Instagram after learning of his exploits. Cijntje throws much harder than Venditte, who predicted Cijntje would be better than the five-year-old big leaguer.
Whether Cijntje turns pro this summer or heads to Mississippi State remains to be seen. He’s small for a pitcher at 5-foot-11, 170 pounds, and clubs believe his talent is currently between the sixth and 10th rounds, which may not be high enough to turn him away from the Bulldogs.
The pitchers dominated the action on Wednesday. Bishop O’Connell HS (Arlington, Va.) right-hander Jack O’Connor whipped up four of the five batters he faced — one on a 96 mph fastball, one on a 90 mph cutter and two on superior curveballs of the 70s. Jackson (NJ) Memorial HS southpaw Zach Crotchfelt had similar success, scoring three puffs on 92-95mph fastballs and a fourth on an 84mph change.
Hanover HS (Mechanicsville, Va.) shortstop Seth Keller and Lake Brantley HS (Altamonte Springs. Fla.) wide receiver Luke Heyman each recorded a brace, the only extra hits of the game. Braswell HS (Aubrey, Texas) third baseman Jayson Jones had the game’s fastest outing speed with a 103 mph ground, and also drilled a 96 mph single. Cienega HS (Vail, Arizona) center fielder Isaiah Jackson made the defensive play of the day, making a diving catch on a sinking liner to deprive Alpha Charter School (Elverta, Calif.) outfielder Jaxon Byrd of sure hit.