The 2022 MLB Draft is full of enticing prospects. Druw Jones seems poised to impress at the next level, Elijah Green has five tool potential and Dylan Lesko has electric stuff to name just three players.
But there is perhaps no more outspoken MLB hopeful than Jurrangelo Cjinte. The Curaçao native with a four-tone mix seems destined to hear his name in this year’s draft at some point.
However, there is one thing that is very remarkable about Cjinte; he is ambidextrous. And Cjinte can not only throw right- and left-handed, he can throw with both hands over 150 km/h.
He showed off his switch-pitching skills at the 2022 MLB Draft Combine this week.
This is fantastic!
The MLB Draft Combine is underway and we have a SWITCH pitcher, Jurrangelo Cijntje. 🤯 pic.twitter.com/FmQXCj5GjZ
— MLB (@MLB) June 15, 2022
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This is unprecedented in the major league game. According to the Baseball Reference, there have only been eight two-handed MLB pitchers. And none of those pitchers had Cjinte’s speed.
So, who is Jurrangelo Cjinte and what are his MLB prospects? Sporting News has everything you need to know about him, as well as the history of switch pitching in the major leagues.
Who is Jurrangelo Cjinte?
Cjinte is a 19-year-old pitching prospect who is set to be selected in the first rounds of the 2022 MLB Draft. Originally from Curaçao, Cjinte began making a name for himself at the Champagnat Catholic School in Florida. Cjinte was noticed for his switch pitching; He swapped pitching hands during the innings to mystify batters.
He said he picked up the tactics from his father. Cjinte is a natural left-hander, but he grew up wearing his father’s catcher’s mitt and learned how to hurl the ball with his right hand.
Cjinte came to the United States in 2016, missing bats with both hands. Right-handed, he has better court selection: his fastball sits between 92 and 96 mph and his slider projects as an effective high-spin court.
His left arm doesn’t offer quite the same speed. Cjinte’s left-handed fastball sits at a tick under 90 mph. But he still has a diverse repertoire from this side, including a sweeping curveball in the low 70s.
Though some see Cjinte’s skills as a novelty, many don’t, including Mississippi state coach Chris Lemonis. Cjinte was involved with the Bulldogs, who won the College World Series in 2021.
Cjinte still has a long way to go before establishing himself as one of the elite draft-class weapons, but his versatility will certainly appeal to GMs – no other two-handed pitcher has matched the speed that Cjinte has displayed.
How does Jurrangelo Cjinte pitch with both hands?
Cjinte’s unusual abilities require special equipment. When he was younger, Cjinte used two gloves – one for the right hand and one for the left. During games, his coach would throw him the glove that matched the batsman’s stance. If he was facing a right-handed man, he would use a left-handed man’s glove and vice versa.
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Eventually, Cjinte switched to a six-finger gauntlet, which allows him to switch between bats seamlessly. According to Baseball America, the glove is worth $500.
History of switch pitchers in MLB
According to the Baseball Reference, only eight pitchers were ambidextrous. The most famous example is Pat Venditte, whose dexterity with both hands prompted MLB and MILB to implement a rule named after him. Two-handed pitchers are now required to state which hand they will be using before each at-bat.
The eight switch pitchers in MLB history and the years they were active. All information courtesy of Baseball Reference:
Additionally, several Negro League pitchers were ambidextrous, including Ulysses Greene and Larry Kimbrough.