Detroit Tigers: Why you can’t sell Jackson Jobe short

Heritage Hall's Jackson Jobe scores a run past Evan Anderson of Verdigris during a Class 4A baseball state tournament championship game between Heritage Hall and Verdigris in Shawnee, Okla., Saturday, May 15, 2021.Lx13916
Heritage Hall's Jackson Jobe scores a run past Evan Anderson of Verdigris during a Class 4A baseball state tournament championship game between Heritage Hall and Verdigris in Shawnee, Okla., Saturday, May 15, 2021.Lx13916 /

The Detroit Tigers took high schooler, Jackson Jobe, with the third pick overall in the first round of the 2021 MLB Draft but the pitchforks were out in full force.

I am a data-driven person when it comes to baseball information and sometimes I also look at a player and have an old fashion “feeling” about one. My logic is flawed and I admit, being a baseball co-expert here, you have to make sure you live up to that billing when it comes to discussions about the Detroit Tigers.

This opinion piece is fueled by three items. 1. Our friends over at Kings of Kaufman wrote an excellent piece about the Royals’ first-round pick Frank Mozzicato and how the fan base reacted so this is where I got the idea for this piece.

2. Jay Markle over at Bless You Boys wrote a mailbag response piece to the pick and I like his approach to the analysis from last night.

3. A three and half hour podcast marathon in which myself and my esteemed colleagues watch the MLB Draft unfold. (Sorry again for the echo issues)

There was a lot of outrage about the pick last night because the Tigers did not get Marcelo Mayer. I admit, I thought based on the conservations and pre-draft discussion that him falling into the Tigers’ lap seem the logical route but you also kept hearing how impressed they were with Jackson Jobe. I followed the “where there is smoke, there is fire” logic and said they would pick him in the mock draft 2.0.

So it happened and if you are on Twitter or Facebook, the comments seem to happen like rapid fire. You have every right to question the logic behind the pick. Al Avila and the front office have made a lot of questionable decisions. After promises of spending money, the Tigers did not this off-season minus the Robbie Grossman and Nomar Mazara deals.

Jackson Jobe comes in highly ranked

To assume that Marcelo Mayer is the next “Alan Trammell” also seems to be a bit out there. Jobe was ranked the 7th highest prospect according to MLB Pipeline and Chris Brown posted the rankings. He is right, rankings are rankings.

The scouting report lays out his two no-hitters and how he became a starting pitcher just this year.  Many experts out there graded Jobe high and he was actually giving Lance Mccullers Jr tips on slider grips.

High-Risk? Of course

When Riley Greene was drafted in 2019, there were some questions about it since they did not go with a college bat while others the Tigers were glad they did not pick another pitcher. Then, he lived up to what the reports said, and quickly, we forgot the risk involved.

Look, you can be mad at Chris Ilitch for not spending money. The fans appeared to respond to that by not attending games since the COVID restrictions started with 18,000 being the most fans down to Comerica Park on July 2. 

The Tigers brass is high on Jobe and they were able to get the college right-hander in Ty Madden in the competitive round. If I have learned anything in going to all of these minor league games this season, it is this. If you are a casual fan of baseball, just wait and see. Yes, there are no shortstops in the system that are going to be ready this season. But something Jay Markle said in his piece struck a chord with me.

"The idea that drafting Mayer, who this final section of the comment was presumably referencing, could have or should have barred the Tigers from opening the checkbook for a free agent shortstop is not rooted in reality. They were always going to approach free agency the same way regardless of who they picked in the draft."

There are no guarantees on what they are going to do on the shortstop front. To be honest, the whole narrative of Carlos Correra and manager A.J Hinch’s relationship of why he could come to Detroit while good in theory, we have NO clue what his mindset is when it comes to free agency. Hinch has taken the same roster that Ron Gardenhire had and has made the team entertaining for being 10 games under .500.

Would we like that to happen? Absolutely. Jobe will take some time and granted, the Tigers need pitching depth so badly right now as Detroit heads into the All-Star break. I am just as impatient to see the Tigers win again as we saw throughout the last decade but for any fans who watched the Tigers in the 1990s and I reference this often because there is a purpose to it, there was a period of time the Tigers drafts yielded NOTHING.

Are they top-heavy with Greene, Torkelson, and Dingler? Sure, but look beyond the surface to see prospects like Ryan Krielder and Andre Lipcius performing solidly. (Oh, yes, I know Lipcius is batting.225) and this system has a long way to go but my point is, there is real progress for the first time in a while. They spotted Akil Baddoo and look what he has done. He is turning into a player that NO ONE saw coming.

I would love to see more come out of the international signings outside of relievers making the All-Star game but I digress.

In a world where social media has fans DMing athletes, it is rather disturbing the lengths people will go to let out their frustration.

Chill out, watch him pitch outside of the 30-second clips that are out there or however long then decide. Let the data speak for itself.  Everyone knows, including the Tigers brass, that they need to get this draft right. The data for drafting high school pitchers shows it is an inherited risk.  I can’t pretend to ignore the information that is out there.

But don’t bash Jackson Jobe.  The past has shown the Tigers have not been able to develop talent. Just hoping that I can stop having the mindset of living in the past. Maybe, just maybe, the Tigers are changing that trend once and for all.