Detroit Tigers Top 20 Prospects: No. 4 Jackson Jobe
Today we focus on right handed pitcher Jackson Jobe, who ranks fourth on our list of Detroit Tigers prospects.
For the past month we’ve been offering detailed looks at all the Detroit Tigers prospects we ranked in our top 20 list. Most recently we wrote about infielder Ryan Kreidler and pitchers Joey Wentz and Ty Madden, but now we focus on the the highest ranked pitching prospect in the system, Jackson Jobe.
Jackson Jobe Background
The son of professional golfer Brandt Jobe, Jackson Jobe was a terrific athlete at relatively young age. He excelled at football early on at Heritage Hall School in Oklahoma City, playing quarterback, and leading the Chargers to a state championship as a sophomore. He began popping up on the national baseball scene the following summer.
Jobe’s spin rates and projectable velocity raised eyebrows, but he was still primarily known as a shortstop at that point. He was well regarded as an infielder, with the potential to go in the top five rounds of the draft as a shortstop. But his future in pro baseball changed rather dramatically in the summer of 2020, when he dominated on the mound during the showcase circuit:
Jobe’s elite spin rates remained, but he seemed to throw harder with each passing month. He looked like a potential sandwich pick by the end of the summer. And then he crept into top-10 consideration after a senior year in which he led his team to a state title, posted a 9-0 record with a 0.14 ERA and 122 strikeouts to 5 walks over 51.2 innings, and reportedly touched 99 MPH with his fastball.
Most fans presumed the Detroit Tigers favored California prep shortstop Marcelo Mayer with the third pick in the 2021 draft. But in the end the club apparently felt Jobe’s upside was too high to ignore.
Jackson Jobe Strengths
Jackson Jobe has just about everything a team could want in a pitching prospect. He’s a plus athlete with bloodlines, he has good size (6’2, 190), he shows a free-and-easy delivery, and his stuff is electric. Jobe’s fastball sits in the 92-96 MPH range, and he may throw even harder in his prime. His primary breaking ball is a low-80s slider with elite spin rates that routinely top 3,000 RPMs. Scouts also think his changeup can be a plus pitch, and he even has a distinct curveball that could be an average offering for him. Jackson Jobe has all the physical ingredients to be a true ace one day.
Jackson Jobe Weaknesses
Jackson Jobe hasn’t thrown a professional pitch yet, so we can’t really nitpick anything specific about his profile. At this point the biggest concerns with Jobe are about what he is — a right-handed high-school pitcher — rather than who he is. Injuries and diminished stuff are always a concern for any pitcher, and the only way for Jobe to allay those fears is to go out and perform.
We can certainly attribute some of Jackson’s athleticism to genetics, but it may also be fair to look at his father’s lengthy injury history. Fans probably don’t have to worry about Jackson slicing off his fingers in a broom accident, but perhaps Brandt’s left shoulder reconstruction, twice-broken left hamate bone, herniated disc, and torn ligaments in his left wrist are cause for future concern.
Then again, golf is a completely different animal than baseball, and Brandt’s ability to come back from all those injuries and completely remake his swing could indicate Jackson has also been blessed with a special blend of athleticism and perseverance.
Our Take on Jackson Jobe
There isn’t a player in the Detroit Tigers system we are more eager to see in 2022 than Jackson Jobe. The Tigers have drafted some exciting high-school pitchers in the last 15 years — Rick Porcello, Jacob Turner, and Matt Manning, to name a few — but Jobe arguably has a higher ceiling than all of them. That trio also serves as a reminder that pitching prospects can explode in every direction, and it might be another 5-10 years before we truly know what kind of player Jackson Jobe is.
There are dozens of things that might go wrong between now and then, and Tigers fans would be wise to exercise patience and let Jackson Jobe develop. We don’t yet have an idea for how Detroit’s new player development staff will operate, but it’s safe to assume they’ll take things slowly in 2022. That means Jobe will probably spend all season in Low-A Lakeland, where he’ll likely be limited to about 80 pitches and/or five innings per outing.
There are more hurdles to clear after that, but there’s no denying Jackson Jobe’s potential. He could be a top-20 prospect in all of baseball by next season, and a few years later he might be the ace on the next Detroit Tigers championship squad.