Change in delivery pays off for Braves prospect Jenkins

Tyrell Jenkins is a long, lean pitching prospect for the Braves. Jenkins pitched more like his body type after making an adjustment to his delivery before making his 2016 Grapefruit League debut on Sunday.

Jenkins pitched a perfect 1 1/3 innings with two strikeouts against the Mets. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said Jenkins made his first spring appearance later than planned because he was working with pitching coach Roger McDowell on his delivery.

“He’s 6-foot-4, and he was pitching like he is 5-foot-10,” Gonzalez said. “Roger straightened him up and got him going downhill. He had some really good life on his fastball today.”

Jenkins entered the game in unfamiliar circumstances. He’s been a starter for all 83 of his professional games in the minor leagues but replaced Evan Rutckyj with two runners on base and two outs in the seventh inning.

Jenkins struck out Kyle Johnson, who couldn’t catch up to a hard fastball. Jenkins then retired the side in order in the eighth inning.

Jenkins said the changes in his delivery paid off.

“Just staying tall,” Jenkins said. “Being stronger in the front side keeps me more consistent. I think I had a little more downhill angle today. My location was good.”

The Braves acquired Jenkins along with Shelby Miller as part of the trade that sent Jason Heyward to the Cardinals in November 2014. The Braves named Jenkins their minor league player of the year in 2015 after he posted a 3.19 ERA in a career-high 25 starts between Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett.