A few weeks back a reader asked me if I would highlight some other D2 players other than those from struggling Sonoma State. Speaking of which, it is an embarrassment that SSU is so bad or at the best, so average right now. There is a lot of talent on that team. I have deeper thoughts on why that program is not finding success on the field this year, relative to the talent, and it is not just a theory which applies to SSU.
Another D2 program in the Bay Area has some good players of note. Cal State Easty Bay, over in Heyward, moved up to the D2 level this year (from D3) and should slowly but surely join the top D2 programs in California. Recently one of their pitchers, RHP Paul Jinkens ('06 Wheatland HS), was named the Wilson/California Collegiate Athletic Association Baseball Pitcher of the Week. Jinkens attended Sacramento State out of high school then transferred to Sierra College in Rocklin, before coming to the Pioneer program last fall. He is a great example of going to a D1 before he was ready for that level, in all likelihood. He went back to a good JC, got more development time and now has found a really good home playing ball, getting to his education, finding success on the field, and hopefully furthering his baseball career beyond college.
During the week of April 12-18, Jinkens had 15 strikeouts in a complete game victory against Cal Poly Pomona. The 15 strikeouts tied a CSU East Bay program record, previously held by Randy Rambis. In the game he allowed seven hits, walked one batter and allowed one run on a solo homer. Jinkens is a 6'0" righty, a dreaded term among the scouting community, but in his case, he is likely to get a shot at pro baseball at some point, whether it is after this year, or next year. I received the following report on Jinkens... again, it was not my own eyes that saw him, rather an associate scout for one of the MLB area scouts sent this to me...
Fastball has been 88-92 has hit 93/94 with the 4 seam. His two seam is showing a lot of run. Slurve is 74 to 77 and has been his out pitch. Change is a split finger and has been a plus when he needs it. He is always around the plate and I think that is the diffrence from other years, he is in control of the game and fields his position well. Has 4 complete games and was 90 in the 9th last week.
For the season Jinkens is 4-3, with a 4.10 ERA in 68.0 innings of work. Thus far he has struck out 57 batters and allowed 68 hits, against 22 walks. Jinkens is the second CSU East Bay Pioneer ballplayer to earn this award, joining junior third baseman Nick McManus who earned the Player of the Week award on April 5.