Daily Sports Smile: High school pitcher impresses during MLB Draft Combine with unique skill

Richard Morin
USA TODAY Sports+

A unicorn may be on its way to Major League Baseball.

Jurrangelo Cijntje, a high school pitcher eligible for the 2022 MLB draft, possesses a skill seen only a handful of times in the last 150 years of baseball. He is ambidextrous.

Against left-handed hitters, he is a southpaw. And against righties, he switches around and comes at them from the other side.

From Curaçao, Cijntje committed to Mississippi State, but impressed at last week's MLB Draft Combine. He sat down with MLB Network TV hosts Greg Amsinger and Harold Reynolds to discuss his unique pitching style.

FOR THE WIN:This video of a MLB prospect throwing gas with both arms on back-to-back pitches is too good

"I started when I was six because my dad is a catcher," Cijntje said on MLB Network. "My father gave me a baseball with a nail in it to throw at a tire, so the nail would stick in the tire to develop my arm with strength and accuracy."

Cijntje described how he compared his strength and accuracy from both arms, but never stopped using both.

Cijntje can throw 93 mph as a lefty and 95 mph from the right side. He also featured an advanced right-handed slider. The 5-foot-11-inch switch-pitcher said he idolizes Clayton Kershaw as a left-hander and Marcus Stroman as a righty.

Pat Venditte was the last switch-pitcher in the MLB, pitching sparingly for several teams from 2015-20. There have only been a few contemporary ambidextrous hurlers at the minor-league and collegiate levels in the last two centuries.

Cijntje has teams buzzing ahead of the draft, which begins July 17.

Whether or not Cijntje is drafted, and whether that sways his decision for college in the fall, his future in baseball has bright potential.

When not pitching, Cijntje also plays shortstop. And you'll never believe this: He's a switch-hitter, too.