Name: Kevin Ginkel
DOB: 3/24/1994 (Age 24)
Acquired: 22nd Round Pick, 2016 MLB Draft
Most Notable Tool: Mid 90s Fastball
Season Stats: 54 games, 6-1, 1.41 ERA, 70 IP, 9/13 SV, 37.2% GB rate, 100/12 K/BB, 0.82 WHIP
2018 Season Summary: Kevin Ginkel entered the season as a no-name reliever prospect with a strong fastball/slider combo but didn’t stand out statistically. That changed in 2018 where he dominated in two stops. The level of domination was absolutely absurd, punching out 100 batters while only issuing 12 walks and surrendering 5 home runs. For a pitcher who relies mostly on fastball and breaking balls, he didn’t have major platoon splits as left-handed hitters had marginally better success than right-handed hitters. FIP (2.10) and xFIP (2.16) numbers suggested he was a bit lucky with stranding runners (over 85% LOB for the season), but at the same time a pitcher who can almost dial up a strikeout at will tends to fare better in said situations. The strong season earned him a ticket to the Arizona Fall League, where he’s continuing to do more of the same.
Tools: Fastball 60/60, Slider 55/55, Change-Up 45/50, Command 40/50
The fastball/slider combination at the minimum will make him a tough match-up scenario for right-handed hitters late. The fastball sits mid 90s with hard run to the arm-side, which complements his good slider very well. Change-up is more of a reluctant 3rd pitch, a change of pace pitch for left handed hitters in case the fastball or slider isn’t as effective.
Upside: I don’t think Ginkel will turn out to be a closer, but perhaps the next most valuable weapon out of the bullpen. At the minimum he will turn out to be a late-inning matchup pitcher against RHH due to FB/SL combo if not a potential fireman role as a guy who comes in and ends opposing rallies with strikeouts. On top of that, not only perhaps a 1 inning role he was utilized in multi-inning situations a lot in AA as evidenced by averaging more than 1 IP per appearance. I think eventually he settles into a 7th or 8th inning role if Torey Lovullo or another manager would prefer the 1 inning only situation.
Risk: The biggest concern for Ginkel is mostly dominating younger competition as he cruised through the Cal and Southern League at 24. Reno will test his resolve as the PCL is arguably one of the most hitter friendly leagues in the minors. The only other concern that would cause him to completely flame out is not having enough command to succeed at the MLB level. That’s why I think a tune-up in Reno before a possible MLB debut could help in his development to make that command more fine-tuned.
Likely 2019 Assignment: While I wouldn’t be surprised if he won a bullpen job in Spring, Ginkel is likely headed for Reno and a prominent bullpen role there if not the outright closer. A strong season will likely put him on the organization’s short list of reliever reinforcements especially considering the team has 3 options on his contract. I expect him to bounce up and down between both levels once he gets his feet wet in the majors.
ETA: 2019 Season