The Detroit Tigers draft Right-Handed Pitcher Jackson Jobe

Jackson Jobe celebrates after winning the Class 4A baseball championship game.
Jackson Jobe celebrates after winning the Class 4A baseball championship game. /
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With the 3rd overall pick in the 2021 MLB Draft the Detroit Tigers selected Jackson Jobe, a right-handed pitcher from Heritage Hall High School in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Jobe started landing with Detroit in mocks about six weeks ago, and since then the buzz has only grown stronger. Roughly a week before the draft the pendulum seemed to swing toward Georgia prep shortstop Brady House, but in draft-day mocks from both Baseball America ($) and FanGraphs Jobe was Detroit’s selection.

Who is Jackson Jobe?

One of the fastest risers in this year’s draft class, Jackson Jobe was still considered a potential two-way player or shortstop prospect as recently as May of 2020. Then he arrived on the Summer showcase circuit and flashed pitches that would be considered elite at the MLB level, and his fate seemed to be sealed.

The son of professional golfer Brandt Jobe, Jackson was a talented high-school quarterback and defensive back, and on the diamond he was his team’s starting shortstop who would hop on the mound to close games. He began starting games this spring, held his dynamic stuff for full games, and began flying up draft boards.

Jackson Jobe Stats

According to Max Preps Jobe went 9-0 this season while giving up one run and striking out 122 batters in 51.2 innings, good for a 0.13 ERA. He threw at least two no-hitters.

Jackson Jobe Scouting Report

Strengths
Jackson Jobe has the full complement of pitches, with scouts willing to name both his fastball and his slider as 70-grade offerings, if not better. His fastball sits in the low-to-mid 90s, and he reportedly touched 99 MPH this year. His slider shows elite traits, with a spin rate topping 3,200 RPM at times, which would be the highest among big-league starters. He also shows a changeup and a curveball that earn above-average grades, and scouts project him to have above-average control. He’s a strong athlete and scouts praise his work ethic.

Weaknesses

Jobe is generally considered the best high-school pitcher since Hunter Greene and MacKenzie Gore, who were both selected in the top five in the 2017 draft. But high-school pitchers, particularly those who flirt with triple digits, are incredibly risky. Detroit’s last two first-round prep pitchers are Beau Burrows and Matt Manning. Burrows was designated for assignment earlier this season and is now in the Twins organization, while Manning made his MLB debut this year and showed promise, but he’s among the worst in baseball when it comes to generating swings and misses.

Here’s what ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel had to say about Jobe.

Irresponsible Jackson Jobe Player Comp

Jackson Jobe is sometimes compared to Dylan Bundy because they were both smaller Oklahoma prep pitchers with advanced stuff. From a pure stuff perspective he could also resemble Trevor Bauer (only as a pitcher!) or Zach Wheeler in his prime.

Jackson Jobe Draft Pick Analysis

Among the four most probable draft picks for the Detroit Tigers (Marcelo Mayer, Jack Leiter, and Brady House) Jackson Jobe offers the highest upside and most risk. The tool grades analysts are giving him (that they hear from scouts) are absurd, and frankly unbelievable. If Jackson Jobe really projects for a 70 fastball, a 70 slider, a 60 change, a 55 curve, and 60 command, then we’re talking about a potential Ace with Hall-of-Fame talent.

It’s all a bit too rich at this point, and there are plenty of potential pitfalls ahead. But there is no denying Jobe’s talent, and because prep right-handers are considered so risky, Jobe doesn’t appear to have another suitor until the 8th or 9th pick. That means the Tigers may be able to cut a small deal with Jobe to save some money (slot value at pick 3 is $7.2 million) to then spend on their picks at 32, 39, or later. If it all works out they could look like geniuses. If it doesn’t, they’ll look like fools.

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