The 2022 MLB Draft is full of enticing prospects. Druw Jones looks 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 might not be a more distinct MLB hopeful than Jurrangelo Cjinte. The Curaçao native with a four-pitch mix seems destined to hear his name called at some point in this year’s draft.
There is one thing that is very notable about Cjinte, though; he’s ambidextrous. And not only can Cjinte throw right-handed and left-handed, he can throw 90-plus mph with both hands.
He showed off his switch pitching ability this week at the 2022 MLB Draft Combine.
Jurrangelo Cijntje, a switch pitcher who can hit over 90 mph with either arm, was doing his thing at the first-ever MLB Draft Combine today 👀🔥
— 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐒𝐩𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐍𝐞𝐰𝐬 (@sportingnews) June 15, 2022
That’s unprecedented in the major league game. According to Baseball Reference, there have only been eight ambidextrous MLB pitchers. And none of those pitchers had Cjinte’s velocity.
So, who is Jurrangelo Cjinte, and what are his MLB prospects? Sporting News has everything you need to know about him, as well some of the history of switch pitching in the major leagues.
Who is Jurrangelo Cjinte?
Cjinte is a 19-year old pitching prospect who looks to be selected in the early rounds of the 2022 MLB Draft. Originally from Curaçao, Cjinte began to make a name for himself at Champagnat Catholic high school in Pembroke Pines, Fla. Cjinte earned notice for his switch pitching; he’d swap pitching hands during innings to mystify batters.
He said he picked up the tactic from his father. Cjinte is a natural left-hander, but he grew up using his dad’s catcher mitt and learned how to sling the ball with his right hand.
Cjinte arrived in the United States in 2016 and proceeded to miss bats with both hands. He has a better pitch selection right-handed: his fastball sits between 92 and 96 mph and his slider projects as an effective high-spin pitch.
His left arm doesn’t offer quite the same velocity. Cjinte’s fastball left-handed sits at a tick under 90 mph. But he still has a diverse repertoire from that side, including a sweeping curveball in the low 70s.
Although some might see Cjinte’s ability as a novelty, many do not, including Mississippi State coach Chris Lemonis. Cjinte committed to the Bulldogs, who won the College World Series in 2021.
Cjinte still has a ways to go before establishing himself as one of the draft class’ elite arms, but his versatility is sure to appeal to GMs — no other ambidextrous pitcher has brought the velocity that Cjinte has shown.
How does Jurrangelo Cjinte pitch with both hands?
Cjinte’s unusual skill set requires specialized equipment. When he was younger, Cjinte used two gloves — one for the right hand and another for the left. During games, his coaches would toss him the glove that corresponding with the batter’s stance. If he was facing a right-handed batter, he would use a left-hander’s glove, and vice versa.
Eventually, Cjinte graduated to a six-finger glove, which allows him to seamlessly switch hands between at-bats. According to Baseball America, the glove is worth $500.
History of switch pitchers in MLB
Per Baseball Reference, only eight pitchers have been ambidextrous. The most famous example is Pat Venditte, whose proficiency with both hands led MLB and MILB to implement a rule named after him. Ambidextrous pitchers are now required to indicate before every at-bat which hand they will use.
The eight switch pitchers in MLB history, as well as the years they were active. All information courtesy of Baseball Reference:
Additionally, several Negro League pitchers were ambidextrous, including Ulysses Greene and Larry Kimbrough.