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Rays Top 50 Prospects: No. 46, RHP Jhonleider Salinas

by Donten Photography

There are some similarities between this guy and the next prospect on our list, the most evident being a dominant fastball-slider combination.

No.46, P Jhonleider Alexander Salinas , 22 yrs old

Born: September25th, 1995 in Caracas, Venezuela

Height/Weight: 6’7” 215 lbs Bats/Throws: R/R

Signed: by the Cleveland Indians as a non-drafted free agent on March 20, 2015

Twitter handle: @salinas_jhon

Baseball America Rankings

  • Pre-2017: #31 among Rays prospects

DRB Writers ranking

  • High: 36
  • Low: 52

Jhonleider Salinas: Abilities

  • Fastball: (60/70) works at 91-96 MPH, touches 99
  • Slider: (45/55) 80-84 MPH
  • Change up: (30/40)
  • Command: (40)
  • Future Value: (40)
  • Allowed more than double the line drives in 2017 (26.2%) than he did in 2016 (12.9%)
  • Abilities notes: The calling card for Salinas is going to be that fastball, and if he ever pairs it with one other plus offering, he’ll be a dominant pitcher. Secondary offerings are developing and raw, really raw. Above all, he’ll need to work on both command and control in 2018, as 2017 was a strength building exercise for the big righty.

Joined the Rays by way of....

  • Acquired along with OF Nathan Lukes (spent 2017 in AA) in return for OF Brandon Guyer. At the time of the trade, neither were on the Indians Top 30 Prospect Lists ( and BA)

Latest Transaction: assigned to Hudson Valley Renegades from GCL Rays June 19, 2017

Note - Spent the entire 2017 season in Hudson Valley as a 21 yr old.

Facts, Honors, and Awards

  • One of the reasons Salinas may be slower to polish his baseball skills is that he spent more time concentrating on his basketball while in Venezuela, which meant he was extremely raw when signed by the Indians.
  • Only allowed 13 hits in 40 innings of work in the DSL (2015)!!! Well, also walked 40 (total 1.30 whip). We said he was raw.
  • Nice pose showing Salinas eyeing a batter down here from four seam images.
  • Bradley Neveu noted one of his top performances in 2017, where he teamed up with top prospect Brendan McKay to shut down Aberdeen. He managed 6 IP and only allowed 1 walk and 2 hits, striking out 3 in the process.

Jhonleider Salinas 2017 Stats

GP 13
GP 13
GS 9
IP 56.2
W 3
L 1
Sv (SvO) 0 (0)
H 47
BB 29
SO 63
HR 3
AvgA 0.226
Whip 1.34
BAbip 0.308
LOB% 73.90%
GB% (AA) 35.90%
FB% (AA) 37.90%

Stats Notes: LHB managed a .255 avg against Salinas, while RHB only managed a .202 avg against

Interesting Comparison: Ryne Stanek

  • While Salinas has a few inches on Stanek, both have a dominant FBs (Stanek 70 - per and Salinas has 70 potential - per Fangraphs), both use their sliders as secondary offerings with most potential, and both will struggle to get their change ups to an average rating.
  • What Stanek has over Salinas is a tick higher rating (10) in each area, including control.
  • If anything, Stanek’s progress should be an example to Salinas on how he can work on his control over time and improve it to become more effective in either the starting or relief roles. The major difference, of course, is that Stanek was nowhere near as raw when he joined the Rays out of the 1st rd in 2013, whereas Salinas defined what raw meant.
  • And that leads us to where they’re dissimilar. If you watch the two videos below, you’ll notice that Stanek’s delivery seems a tad more rushed and violent than Salinas’ (particularly out of the stretch) while Salinas has a bit (but not as much) of the famous Cobb pause included in his delivery.

Notes for 2018 and beyond

Quite possibly the most important thing you’ll read about Salinas in this article is this - if we take away his first 5 starts of the season, which were shaky, to be honest, he winds up with the following through the remainder of the season,

8 GP / 35 IP / 27 H / 14 BB / 41 SO / 2.27 ERA / .211 avg against / 1.16 whip

Our point: while he managed a lowly 22.7% SO% and 15.5% BB% over his first 5 starts, he improved both of those areas substantially over the following 8 games pitcher, with a 28.3% SO% and 9.7% BB%. For an relatively inexperienced player like Salinas, seeing continual improvement allows up to be optimistic about his development.

Among those competing for a spot in what should be an extremely talented Bowling Green pitching staff, Salinas has the floor of an intriguing relief option and the ceiling of a mid-rotation starter. While the former is more likely than the latter, with so many hurdles standing in his way, his steep learning curve thus far bodes well.

The Rays made yet another savvy investment when they traded the popular Guyer to Cleveland by targeting a high ceiling player whose raw tools they knew they could develop well over time. If those improvements continue in 2018, he’s a sure bet to land in the top 25 next off season.

Jhonleider Salinas: Spotlight Videos

We’re also including the Stanek video below Salinas’ to give you opportunity to compare the two.

Recap and links of previously listed DRB Top 50 Rays Prospects