logo

Blue Jays prospect Ryan Jennings discusses the MLB Draft, his first full season, and overcoming injury to finish out the year in Vancouver

alt
Photo credit:Dunedin Blue Jays
Tyson Shushkewich
2 months ago
Early in his baseball career, Ryan Jennings thought of following the path of former family members to Texas A&M, but a trip out east to Louisiana changed all of that.
“Coming out of JUCO ball with Wharton County, I had a few schools interested in taking me on,” said Jennings, speaking to Blue Jays Nation. “I ended up taking a tour at Lousiana Tech and I fell in love with the campus and the coaching staff was fantastic right from the get-go. It really felt like a home away from home and I felt a connection right away.”
The San Antonio, Texas product spent two seasons with the Bulldogs, working out of the rotation and the bullpen through his two seasons in Ruston. Through 38 outings (30 starts), the right-hander amassed a 4.02 ERA through 174 2/3 innings with a 3.2 BB/9 and an 8.7 K/9 to the tune of a 1.254 WHIP.

Blue Jays prospect Ryan Jennings discusses the MLB Draft process

After posting a 3.69 ERA in 2022, the Blue Jays used their fourth-round pick in the 2022 MLB Draft on the starter, signing the senior pitcher to an under-slot bonus.
“There was a lot of unknowns heading into the draft,” said Jennings. “I had talked with a lot of scouts from different teams throughout the year and I didn’t really know where I was going to fall. When the Jays selected me, it was a bit of a surprise given there were a few other teams also showing interest but once I saw my name on the board, I took it all in and realized I was going to be a pro baseball player in a great organization.”
Following the draft and the days of excitement following the festivities, Jennings found himself heading back out east but past Louisiana and into Dunedin, Florida at the Blue Jays player development complex. “About two or three days after the draft I was heading out to Florida and we went straight into draft camp. The first two weeks were super informative both on the field and off the field, discussing the different rules that come with being a pro baseball player, learning about social media awareness, and then creating a bond with the rest of the draft class from that year.”
After such a heavy season in the Bulldogs rotation and pitching a career-high 90 innings, Jennings finished the 2022 season in single-A Dunedin working out the bullpen to the tune of five starts and 8 1/2 innings, striking out eight while allowing just two earned runs and finishing with a 2.16 ERA.
The Texas product would rejoin the Blue Jays in Dunedin to start the 2023 season, heading into his first full season with the organization.
“It was really interesting to go from college, where everybody is pushing you to succeed for the program and personally and into pro baseball where you have to earn absolutely everything. You really have to push yourself and it is your job to get things done, six days a week and get to work on your career. Getting that taste of single-A to finish the year, facing a variety of different players with different levels of experience was a great introduction both in my first year and when I returned last season.”
Jennings made one appearance in the bullpen to start the year before moving to the Blue Jays rotation, making seven starts and one more relief appearance over the next two months. Overall, he amassed a 4.36 ERA through 33 innings while posting a 1.242 WHIP and a 12.0 K/9. In early June, the right-hander was moved to high-A Vancouver and made two road starts before finding himself on the IL with an elbow injury.

Jennings reflects on his stint on the Injured List

“It was frustrating to land on the IL, as I just wanted to keep pushing forward,” said Jennings, speaking about his time off the diamond. “I wanted to keep playing and keep moving up and to have my elbow flare up like it did, just trying to ramp up and contribute was super frustrating. After taking some time away and getting back into a routine and getting my muscles and nerves loosened up, I am thankful I was able to get a few more outings under my belt before the end of the season.”
Jennings made one more start on the road late in the year before making his Nat Bailey Stadium debut with the Canadians during the Northwest League Championship series against the Everett AquaSox.
The right-hander got the start in game #4 with the championship within reach, as the Canadians needed just one more win to secure the title and Jennings delivered, going three innings while striking out five and allowing just one walk and zero runs and zero hits, starting the game by striking out Cole Young, Harry Ford, and Gabriel Gonzalez. The Canadians eventually won 10-2 and took home the Northwest League Champion honours.
“Talk about debut,” laughed Jennings. “Nat Bailey is such a magical place to play and one of the best Minor League ballparks around. To routinely pitch in front of 4 to 5000 fans every single night and to win it all for them helped the team go that extra mile.”
Looking ahead, after missing some time on the IL this past season, Jennings is looking to improve on a few things this offseason as he heads into another campaign with the Blue Jays organization.
“I think the biggest thing is my consistency, I really pride myself on being consistent on the mound. If I can be consistent with my fastball and my slider in the zone, I know I can control the outing. Just getting to work every day and making sure I can stick to a routine, I know that doing these right things will help me be as successful as I can be on the mound.”

ARTICLE PRESENTED BY BETANO

Check out these posts...