AJ Hinch used his Astros connection to help Tigers top prospect meet Gerrit Cole

Detroit Tigers pitcher Jackson Jobe throws during spring training at TigerTown in Lakeland, Fla. on
Detroit Tigers pitcher Jackson Jobe throws during spring training at TigerTown in Lakeland, Fla. on / Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

A lot of not-so-great stuff can be said about AJ Hinch's five-year tenure with the Astros (does anyone hear that banging?), but the dominance of Houston's pitching staff, especially in 2018 and 2019, can't be denied. 2015 featured peak Dallas Keuchel, but 2018 was Justin Verlander's first full season with the team and also marked the arrival of Gerrit Cole. Verlander placed second in Cy Young voting in 2018 and won in 2019, with Cole just barely running behind in second.

Astros history aside, Hinch has done good work for the Detroit Tigers since 2021 and has whipped the team into fighting shape for the first time in nearly a decade, which led to a contract extension this offseason.

He's also facilitating meetings between Tigers top prospects and their heroes. On Sunday, Hinch put Jackson Jobe on the Tigers' roster for an away game against the Yankees. Jobe wasn't going to pitch at all, but it was an excuse to take him down the road to meet Yankees ace Gerrit Cole, who Jobe has long admired.

No. 3 Tigers prospect Jackson Jobe and Gerrit Cole met to talk pitching

Jobe is a non-roster invitee with the Tigers at spring training, but he has yet to appear in a spring game and may not do so throughout the rest of the preseason. Along with Jace Jung and Ty Madden, Jobe was told from the outset that he was in Tigers camp to observe and learn from the experience and would not be making the team. Jung and Madden, who are both older than Jobe, have recorded at-bats or innings in games, but Jobe continues to sit on the sidelines.

In 2024, Jobe is baseball's No. 25 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, up significantly from his No. 63 ranking in 2023; he also ranks as the Tigers' consensus No. 1 pitching prospect. He went all the way from Rookie Ball to Double-A last year and put up a 2.81 ERA over 64 innings. On his meeting with Cole, Jobe said that they "talked about pitching for like 15-20 minutes nonstop" between the home and away concourses at Steinbrenner Field.

He also admitted to mostly being a Tim Lincecum fan growing up, but put Cole at a close second. Whether or not Jobe gets to pitch during spring training this year, hopefully he'll implement a little bit of whatever he and Cole spoke about and will stay on the clear path he's on toward the majors.