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Who is Tyrell Jenkins and why should you care?

The Padres acquired a pitcher off waivers. Is that a good thing?

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Atlanta Braves Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

With the news that the Padres have claimed righty Tyrell Jenkins off waivers from the Reds, the team’s 40-man roster now has 40 names. While you may not have heard of Mr. Jenkins before, it might be a good idea to get to know the man. He might become a common name around Petco, for better or for worse.

Tyrell Jenkins was a first round draft pick in 2010 (okay, the compensatory round to be fair) and was ranked in Top 100 prospect lists as recently as 2013. Since then, he spent four years bouncing between St. Louis’ Rookie and A-level affiliates before being sent to Atlanta in the Shelby Miller deal. With Atlanta he saw promotions to AA and AAA with some pretty good results and finally made his MLB debut last year. A starter throughout his minor league career, he saw time both starting and relieving last year, however he wasn’t effective. During the Winter Meetings last month, he was traded to the Rangers, who later placed him on waivers, only to be picked up by the Reds to make room for David Rollins (who got waived himself shortly thereafter), only to be placed on waivers again to make room for Drew Storen, which is how he came to be claimed by the Padres. Phew! That’s a wild trip.

Okay, so who is Tyrell Jenkins and what does he bring to the Padres? He’s a 24-year-old righty with the prototypical 6’4”, 240lb athletic frame. He features a fastball that tracks into the mid-90’s with a slider that has sharp but not dramatic break and a changeup that’s not all that great. He posted respectable numbers in 2014 & 2015, but a 5.88 ERA and 1.692 WHIP over 52 innings of MLB work doesn’t look all that enticing. The good news is, four of his eight starts last season were of the “quality” variety. He walks more than his share of guys and doesn’t get a ton of K’s, gives up plenty of hits and homers. All that adds up to another Darren Balsley project who has a fightin’ chance to A) crack the Padres’ rotation and B) turn his career around and therefore build some value for the organization. Beyond that, he has a fun name that reminds me of this guy and this guy. Not sure how they might use that during games, but I kinda hope they work that angle.

Okay, let’s take a quick inventory: Clayton Richard, Jhoulys Chacin, Christian Friedrich, Paul Clemens, Jarred Cosart, Luis Perdomo, Cesar Vargas, Walker Lockett, Zach Lee, Tyrell Jenkins, possibly Robbie Erlin by midseason, and probably not Colin Rea until next year. If they want to add Jake Peavy or anyone else, someone has to get DFA’d off the 40-man to make room. Don’t get me wrong, there’s some talent and some grit mixed in with this motley crew, but my lord, that is not an impressive herd of hurlers to round up into a rotation. Thank goodness the lineup and defense have potential to be fun to watch, because these starters will put them to work.