Meet Geno Encina, Jays 18th round pick

Interview with Geno Encina
By Jay Blue
Blue Jays from Away

Selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 18th round of the 2015 draft, right-handed pitcher Geno Encina had a terrific career in college, playing for the University of the Incarnate Word Cardinals in the NCAA Division I Southland Conference.

Encina had two very strong seasons at Incarnate Word, putting up a 2.61 ERA and 1.09 WHIP over his sophomore and junior seasons, striking out 121 and walking only 28 in 169 combined innings. As a freshman, he was still one of the top pitchers on the team, leading the team in innings pitched (75 2/3) and wins (7). Encina has a high leg kick, reminiscent of Matt Boyd (but from the right side), and features a low-90s fastball coming from his 6-foot-4 frame. Encina will likely begin the season with Bluefield in the Appalachian League but may very well be seen in Vancouver before the season is out.

Here is Encina in his own words.
Blue Jays from Away: What was your reaction to being drafted by the Blue Jays? Had you met any scouts from the Jays during the season?

Geno Encina: When I first heard I was drafted by the Blue Jays I definitely felt a sense of joy but mainly relief for not only myself but also for both my parents since they were a big part of the process

BJfA: I’ve read that you’ve planned to sign with the Blue Jays despite having the option of going back to college for another year. Can you enlighten the readers on what motivated your decision?

GE: One thing that motivated this decision was that I felt ready mentally and physically to compete at the next level. Don’t get me wrong, the Southland Conference was a very competitive place to play but I had discussed my decision for a while amongst my coaches and family and I just felt like it was the best decision for me.

BJfA: How did you choose to go to the University of the Incarnate Word?

GE: I chose the University of Incarnate word at the time because I was a high school senior who only threw mid to upper 80’s I didn’t get too many offers to different schools. I didn’t feel like Junior College was for me so I chose Incarnate Word.

BJfA: Looking over your stats, it looks like you didn’t have any trouble adjusting from high school to competition to NCAA DI, what do you think the challenges might be adjusting to the professional game?

GE: One challenge would definitely be seeing better hitters in the professional level as well as adjusting to a smaller strike zone.

BJfA: Can you give our readers a scouting report on Geno Encina? What kind of pitcher are you? What kinds of pitches do you throw? What do you consider your “out pitch”?

GE:  I consider myself more as a finesse pitcher who gets a lot of ground balls since my fastball has a lot of natural sink to it. This year I have worked a lot on my change-up and curveball but I do consider my slider as my best pitch. I try to limit my walks by filling up the zone and work best when I get ahead.

BJfA: What’s your favourite part about pitching?

GE: My favorite part about pitching would easily be the mental side of it and especially now since at the professional level I will get the opportunity to call my own game. Personally pitching to me is like playing a game of chess.

BJfA: What will you miss the most about your college team?

GE: The thing I will miss most is simply playing the game and the fun I had with all my teammates. I don’t think anything can compare to playing college baseball and the fun that comes along with it.

BJfA: What are you most excited about going pro?

GE: I’m most excited to see how my talent matches up with my competition and to basically see what I got against the best of the best.

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