Jackson Jobe Risk Factor Number 3 – Injuries
Injuries eventually come for every pitcher. The lucky ones manage to stave off serious injury trouble until late in their career, or get past early injury issues to become quality big leaguers. But for 51% of our busts, injuries delayed, derailed, or outright ended their careers. The only real surprise here is that the number isn’t higher.
One injury typically isn’t enough to immediately end a career, but many times a devastating injury effectively ends a prospect’s career. The Houston Astros made Brady Aiken the top overall pick in the 2014 draft, but they had concerns about his elbow and ended up not signing him. Aiken then tore an elbow ligament in his next appearance. Cleveland took him with the 17th overall pick in 2015, but he threw just 179 career innings before being released in October.
Typically prospects are derailed by everything else that comes with an injury, including lost development time, altered mechanics, and downgrades in control or stuff. And, crucially, the biggest predictor of future injury is past injury.
The Orioles took Hunter Harvey with the 22nd pick in the 2013 draft, and by the end of 2014 he looked like a future top-of-the-rotation starter. But injuries cost him all of 2015 and held him back in every other year since. Harvey’s raw stuff is still excellent, and he generally throws strikes, but he’s now 27 and has fewer than 25 MLB innings to his name. San Francisco claimed him off waivers in November.
For every workhorse like Rick Porcello, there are ten injury plagued Matt Wheatlands. Once again, only time will tell if Jackson Jobe can stay healthy.