Tigers select high school phenom
The Major League Baseball Draft is probably the most difficult draft in professional sports to predict. With such a wide range of talent across North America and players being selected out of high school, it is not an easy job being a scout. Despite some teams’ hesitation to draft players directly out of high school, the Detroit Tigers had no issues taking pitcher Jackson Jobe out of Oklahoma City with the third overall pick in this year’s draft.
“We’ve been fortunate to scout and draft some great high school pitchers over the years, and Jackson ranks up there with some of the best we’ve seen,” said Tigers general manager Al Avila in a team release. “He pitches beyond his years, and we project him to be an impactful arm in our player development system, and eventually the Major Leagues. Though young pitching is one of our organizational strengths, we see the addition of Jackson as an important one as we continue building depth that will breed sustainable success in the long term.”
Jobe is a powerful right-handed pitcher who has impressed scouts across the country with his slider. The Tigers are hoping the youngster can be a core piece in their rebuilding process as they look towards a brighter future.
“We’ve had success with young arms in the past,” Tigers amateur scouting director Scott Pleis said on a video conference, via MLB.com. “We’ve been through it a little bit. There’s really risk in everybody, but I think…we have an idea how to handle them and we do our best to make sure we develop them the correct way, and do things a certain way to make sure that everything goes the way we want to go.
Jobe becomes the fifth high school pitcher the Tigers organization has selected in the last 15 years. The club drafted Rick Porcello out of high school with the 27th overall pick in the 2007 MLB Draft and he would go on the win an American League CY Young Award in 2016. They also selected Matt Manning out of high school with the ninth overall pick in 2016 and he made his debut with the club last month.
“I think it would be a shame to run away from the best talent because maybe we were afraid that he might get hurt or something like that,” Pleis continued. “Because in all sports, you watch, there’s always a risk. But his talent outweighed that risk for sure, for us, and that’s probably the main reason why we took him.”
The Tigers firmly believe that Jobe was the best player available to them with the third pick and think he can be a valuable member of the team for years to come.
“We always end up taking the best player on the board with the best ability and the most upside, so it was an easy, easy get for us,” said Pleis. “Jackson’s a special talent and a great makeup kid [with] plus tools across the board – control, command, life to his fastball, just really the total package, which we rarely ever see in high school baseball.”