After getting a taste of Triple-A to end last season, Thomas Jankins is out to prove he belongs back at that level.The Brewers right-hander tossed his first career complete game in Double-A Biloxi's nightcap Sunday. Jankins allowed an unearned run on two hits over seven innings and retired the final
After getting a taste of Triple-A to end last season, Thomas Jankins is out to prove he belongs back at that level.
The Brewers right-hander tossed his first career complete game in Double-A Biloxi's nightcap Sunday. Jankins allowed an unearned run on two hits over seven innings and retired the final 17 batters in the Shuckers' 3-1 win over the Birmingham Barons. He struck out six.
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"You always want to get off to a good start when you're coming in on your first start of the season," Jankins said. "We had a nice mix going today with all three of my pitches."
Selected by Milwaukee in the 13th round of the 2016 Draft, Jankins started off the season at Biloxi for the second straight year. Last year, he went 10-9 with a 4.42 ERA, 95 strikeouts and 36 walks over 23 appearances -- 21 starts -- in 130 1/3 innings. His productivity earned the 23-year-old a final 2018 start for Triple-A Colorado Springs, where he pitched five shutout innings in relief on Aug. 30 against Omaha.
"Getting to Triple-A at the end of last season and having a good appearance there was definitely a confidence builder for me moving forward," the Massachusetts native said. "Taking the things I need to improve on in the offseason and hopefully applying them this year is hopefully going to get me to that next level."
The biggest facet of the game Jankins wants to work on this season is keeping his composure on the mound with runners in scoring position. In those situations last year in Biloxi, batters hit .324 off him to vault his ERA to 15.07.
"There are times where you reach back for more and you get out of what makes you successful in those high-stress situations," he said. "The more I encounter them, I feel like the better I do with them. So just locating breaking balls and executing pitches with guys in scoring positions is the biggest takeaway for me."
Jankins' 2018 season came on the heels of a successful first year of full-season ball. Following the Draft, he posted a 3.09 ERA and struck out 14 over 11 2/3 innings for Rookie Advanced Helena before moving up to Class A Wisconsin less than a month later. The Quinnipiac product was 9-8 with a 3.62 ERA over 141 2/3 innings in the Midwest League.
On Sunday, 10th-ranked White Sox prospect Luis González reached second on a throwing error by shortstop C.J. Hinojosa to start off the game. Jankins struck out eighth-ranked Micker Adolfo, but No. 9 Blake Rutherford advanced Gonzalez to third with an infield groundout and Yermin Mercedes lined a single to left that plated the lone run against Jankins.
The Shuckers got the run back in the bottom half of the frame on a sacrifice fly by Dillon Thomas. Biloxi took the lead in the second on RBI singles by Alexander Alvarez and Hinojosa.
"I'm hoping this year is a little more consistent than it was last year and I'm hoping to carry that forward to the next couple of months," Jankins said.
Shlomo Sprung is a contributor to MiLB.com Follow him on Twitter @sprungonsports. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.