Detroit Tigers: 4 reasons Jackson Jobe is risky

Heritage Hall's Jackson Jobe scores a run during the Class 4A baseball state tournament championship game.
Heritage Hall's Jackson Jobe scores a run during the Class 4A baseball state tournament championship game. /
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Jackson Jobe Risk Factor Number 4 – Stuff

Jackson Jobe
Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Jacob Turner throws against the Los Angeles Angels. Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

We came into the exercise thinking injuries would be the main issue keeping high-school pitchers from MLB success, but we were wrong. A stunning 68% of our busts failed to reach their ceiling because their stuff just wasn’t good enough. There are a dozen possible reasons for this, from injuries, to scouts getting overly excited about small samples, to players simply failing to develop.

Jackson Jobe’s scouting reports look amazing. He owns a mid-90s fastball, a plus-plus slider, and a changeup and curve that both project as above-average offerings. But it’s remarkable how many prep pitchers begin their pro career with glowing scouting reports, and then three years later have an evaluation that reads more like this:

"His fastball has touched the mid-90s in the past, but it sits in the 88-92 MPH range now, and his once plus-plus breaking ball now takes a back seat to his average changeup."

Miami selected Tyler Kolek with the 2nd overall pick in the 2014 draft, largely because he consistently threw in the upper 90s and touched 102 MPH in high school. But his velocity dipped to the low-90s as soon as he began a pro pitching regimen. He couldn’t miss bats, started walking hitters, and then injured his arm. He isn’t officially retired, but he hasn’t pitched since 2019.

Our busts list is littered with former top high-school arms who seemingly had good stuff that just didn’t play at higher levels. And, unfortunately, some of the best examples of this are recent Detroit Tigers draft picks.

Beau Burrows sat in the mid-90s and flashed above-average secondary offerings in high school. He never really developed beyond that, though, and he’s now a replacement-level arm with an ERA above 10 in the majors.

It’s far too early to close the book on Matt Manning, but his early results are troubling. He looked like a future ace after dominating Double-A in 2019, but in 2021 he couldn’t consistently miss bats with any of his offerings, and he essentially abandoned his curveball, which had long been viewed as a plus pitch.

And then there’s Jacob Turner, Detroit’s top pick in 2009. His -2.6 WAR is the worst of any player on our bust list. His stuff always looked good, which bought him enough chances to post a career 5.37 ERA over 369 innings.

Professional baseball is a gauntlet, and it’s a small miracle when high-school pitchers have the ability, and the durability, to reach 20 career WAR.

Jackson Jobe certainly has that level of talent. All he has to do is avoid off-the-field issues, stay healthy, throw quality strikes, and maintain his plus stuff for the next 15-20 years.

No sweat.

Next. Detroit Tigers Minor League Tools: Best Fastball. dark