Meet the ambidextrous pitcher who could be a first-round target for the Blue Jays in the 2024 MLB Draft

Photo credit:Vasha Hunt- USA TODAY Sports
Chris Georges
1 month ago
When thinking of ambidextrous pitchers, one name and one name only usually pops into baseball fans’ minds: Pat Venditte.
The one-time Blue Jay had a bit of a journeyman career as a both-handed pitcher, making headlines for always having the platoon advantage rather than his particular effectiveness with either arm. In the 2024 draft, another both-handed pitcher has the potential to be even better. Mississippi State pitcher Jurrangelo Cijntje (SAYN-che) is a bonafide first-round draft prospect with electric stuff with both arms, who figures to be an option for the Blue Jays when the 22nd overall pick rolls around.
Born in the Netherlands but growing up in Curacao, Cijntje was a Willemstad Little League team member that went to the Little League World Series in 2016. He moved to Miami when he was 16 and starred for Champagnat Catholic School, where he quickly became a draft prospect. The Brewers drafted him in the 18th round of the 2022 draft, but the 5’11” 200-pounder opted for college instead. In his first season at Mississippi State in 2023, Cijntje struggled with command en route to an 8.10 ERA, walking 34 and striking out 63 in 50.0 innings pitched. However, he emerged as the Bulldogs’ best pitcher in 2024, striking out 113 in 90.2 innings pitched, good for an 8-2 record and 3.67 ERA on the season.
One of the craziest things about Cijntje’s profile is that despite being a natural lefthander, scouts actually see more potential for him as a right-hander. He started throwing right-handed as a six-year-old while trying to emulate his dad, who pitched professionally in the Netherlands. Since he is under six feet tall, he has understandably received comparisons to Marcus Stroman. It is fair to wonder if he will have the durability to work long-term as a starting pitcher or if he will become more of a reliever long-term.
As a right-handed pitcher, he throws in the mid to upper 90s, with a mid to upper 80s slider and changeup. As a left-hander, his fastball sits more so in the low 90s while his slider is more of a low-to-mid 80s offering, as he delivers the ball from a lower arm slot. It’s worth noting that Cijntje sometimes pitched right-handed to left-handed hitters this season, perhaps suggesting that he may ditch the both-handed pitching efforts as a pro.
We have seen a number of high-profile Curacao-born players over the years, especially on the Atlanta Braves, including Andruw Jones, Ozzie Albies, and Andrelton Simmons, standing out. The Blue Jays also once had a pair of Dutch-born pitchers in the organization – Sem Robberse and  Jiorgeny Casimiri. With that said, Cijntje will try to follow in the footsteps of the two most successful pitchers to come off the island, Kenley Jansen and Jair Jurrjens.
As much of a fun story as it would be to see Cijntje thrive as a both-handed pitcher, it’s unlikely he will continue down this path. Scouts see starting potential as a righthander while viewing him as more of a reliever as a lefthander. The most likely chance that we could see him pitch both ways is if he ended up in the bullpen full-time, which would give managers an interesting chess piece to work with.
Cijntje is expected to be selected at some point towards the end of the first round on July 14th. After going with high schoolers in the first round of each of the last two drafts (Arjun Nimmala in 2024, Brandon Barriera in 2023), we’ll see if the Blue Jays decide to go back to the college ranks and take a chance on the intriguing Mississippi State pitcher.

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