Detroit Tigers: It’s time to leave Jackson Jobe alone

I’ve moved on from the Detroit Tigers picking Jackson Jobe over Marcelo Mayer in the 2021 MLB Draft. You should too.

When the Detroit Tigers selected SP Jackson Jobe over SS Marcelo Mayer with the third overall pick in the 2021 MLB Draft, fans like myself were livid. They had just passed over the consensus best player in the draft for a high school pitcher—and history suggested they would come to regret that decision.

But here we are, well over a year removed from the pick, and while I still lament it, Jackson Jobe is the player we got. We should give him a chance.

After all, it’s not Jobe’s fault the Tigers picked him over Mayer. Tigers brass fell in love with his projectability and wicked stuff. To their credit, it’s not like he isn’t talented. He was the best high school pitcher in last year’s draft, save maybe for Philadelphia’s Andrew Painter. He almost certainly would have went in the top 10.

But to see fans virtually harassing the kid (and media outlets who report on anything he does) like he had anything to do with the decision is just so disheartening. Jobe is just a 20-year-old pitcher trying to live out his dream of becoming a big leaguer.

Sure, he hasn’t lit the world on fire this year. In 72.1 innings between Low-A and High-A, he’s got a 3.98 ERA with 77 strikeouts. Those numbers aren’t exactly earth-shattering, but they also aren’t bad. He’s averaging more than a strikeout per inning.

In fact, he’s gotten better since he got called up to High-A West Michigan. In two starts with the Whitecaps, he’s sporting a 0.84 ERA with six strikeouts in 10.2 innings. This includes his most recent start where he didn’t allow a run in 5.2 innings of work. It’s a small sample size, but it’s encouraging.

Jobe’s biggest weakness so far is probably his command, specifically with his fastball. The walks are a tad on the high side, but the larger concern is the amount of hits and homers he gives up. He gave up almost two home runs per nine innings in Lakeland. But he also struck out 10.4 batters per nine down there. He’s got the stuff, he just has to learn to harness it—and that takes time.

Jobe was drafted out of high school. The Tigers chose to shut him down for the year after drafting him. They eased him into things this year. It’s going to take a while for him to build up velocity and get his command in check. Just because he hasn’t lit things up out of the gate doesn’t make him a bust.

I went on a bit of a Twitter rant before the draft about how the Detroit Tigers passed on the best player available when they took Jobe over Mayer. I still believe that, but doesn’t mean I have to constantly remind everyone—including Jobe himself—that I think the Tigers made the wrong choice.

Would I rather have Marcelo Mayer in the Tigers farm system? Of course. Having a potential superstar shortstop in a farm system that desperately needs hitting talent would definitely make it look better. But the Tigers don’t have Marcelo Mayer—the Boston Red Sox do. The Detroit Tigers have Jackson Jobe—and he’s a darn good player in his own right.

Jackson Jobe is the Tigers No.1 prospect according to MLB Pipeline. Marcelo Mayer is not. It’s time to face facts and deal with what we have—and what we have could be the future ace of the Tigers rotation.