Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

Twins' Jorge looking like a star pupil

Elizabethton righty has allowed just two hits in three starts
July 4, 2013

The term "unhittable" is thrown around a lot with young pitchers, especially ones with a lot of perceived upside and not much of a track record to prove otherwise.

But Rookie-level Elizabethton's Felix Jorge, at least through his first few outings this season, has been just about that.

In his third start thursday, Jorge worked five one-hit innings without issuing a walk and striking out four. The E-Twins went on to fall to the Bluefield Blue Jays, 6-5.

That one hit the 19-year-old allowed was just the second in his three outings.

"He's so free and easy that you don't think he's got that much with the fastball, but he can run it up there anywhere from 90-95 [mph] some days," said Elizabethton pitching coach Henry Bonilla. "You see him and he's tall, skinny and everything is working kind of slow. But his arm, once it gets to that fire point, it's quick and it gets on you. The ball jumps out and surprises guys.

"He kind of had everything going [today]. Pretty good command of his fastball, not his best but enough to make the pitches when he needed to. His slider he had down for the most part and he mixed in a couple change-ups."

Jorge signed with Minnesota out of the Dominican Republic for a reported $250,000 in 2011, when he was considered one of the top members of that year's international free-agent class.

Last year he arrived in the United States, and in 34 2/3 Rookie-level Gulf Coast League innings, he notched a 2.34 ERA with 37 strikeouts and 12 walks. The year before, with the Dominican Summer League Twins, he was 2-1 with a 2.67 ERA.

In 12 1/3 innings so far in the Appalachian League this year, he has a 0.73 ERA with 13 strikeouts and four walks.

The success has come so seemingly easy to Jorge, according to Bonilla, because of his advanced awareness on the mound for his age.

"He's one of our better guys on this team for sure. He learns quick. His English is already pretty good and he learns every day, speaks a little bit now, which shows his intelligence," he said. "But he also sees hitters, what they're trying to do, and constantly working on the feel of pitching. He has a good head on his shoulders and he's one of those guys who's always learning, always seeing what's going on even though he's such a young guy."

Bonilla said the primary thing Minnesota was working on with the young right-hander was narrowing his strike zone. He called the typical strike zone in the Dominican Leagues "huge," and with the hitters also more aggressive, he said it leads young pitchers into thinking they have more room to work with than they actually do.

He added that in that regard, and just generally speaking, Jorge has made great strides.

"From when he first came over in April of last year, he's taken big steps. He came over a bit timid to throw his fastball. He liked to go to the change-up and breaking ball and he was inconsistent with his breaking stuff. Now he thrives on the fastball. He likes to challenge guys and he's taken those steps, every month, every week and he's starting to run with it and seeing that he can be a front-line starter."

Offensively, Logan Wade led the Twins, hitting a home run, a triple and driving in three runs.

Jorge Saez and Matt Dean plated two apiece for the Blue Jays.

Jonathan Raymond is a contributor to