Join Jays From the Couch in reviewing the season that was for Blue Jays bullpen prospect Jackson McClelland
Jackson McClelland is the last of eight Blue Jays prospects heading to the Arizona Fall League. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to see Jackson included in this group, as he did an amazing job out of the bullpen in 2017.
I showed McClelland some love in the middle of August, so this will be a little shorter than the previous seven AFL selectees. This is not to shortchange Jackson McClelland, quite the opposite. I feel his name will be appearing in many a post this offseas0n.
Let’s get to it.
The 6-foot-5 Pepperdine grad was assigned to the A-Ball Lansing Lugnuts. A rookie to full-season ball, Jackson acquitted himself very well. He posted a record of 1-1 with a 1.86 ERA in 9.2 IP over 7 appearances. He struck out 11 batters, walked 5, and was a perfect 4-for-4 in save opportunities.
McClelland held opponents to a sparkling .161 batting average.
A change in the calendar, but not a change in fortune. Despite seeing his strikeouts fall to 5, McClelland continued to be a stabilizing force at the back of the Lugnuts bullpen. He had one blown save but upped his save total to 8 on the year with 4 more. He posted a 0-1 record with a 0.96 ERA, holding opponents to a .219 BA.
He had his only poor outing with the Lugnuts to start the month and was shipped out of town for his efforts. By out of town, I mean promoted to the Florida State League to join the Dunedin Blue Jays.
More of the same for Jackson McClelland. He posted a 1.00 ERA with 4 BB and 6 K in 9 IP over 7 appearances.
Jackson pitched 12.0 IP in July, the most of any other month, and he seemed to respond well to workload. He posted a 2-1 record with a 1.50 ERA but only walked a single batter while striking out 10 batters.
After saving just one game for the D-Jays in June, Jackson was a perfect 2-for-2 in save opportunities in July.
McClelland continued to rise with a strong August. In 11 appearances, 11.2 IP, McClelland posted a record of 0-1, 0.77 ERA. He walked 3 and struck out 10 while holding opponents to a .229 BA.
Oh, he also was perfect closing out games with another 4 saves.
The former 15th round pick appeared in two games in the final month of the season. One in the regular season and one in the playoffs.
The 23-yr-old reliever would finish the regular season with an inning of one hit, no BB, no K relief.
Unfortunately, Jackson waited until September 5th to have his worse outing of his season. The Cherry Valley native allowed 4 runs on 3 hits, 3 BB in 1.1 IP against the Tampa Yankees.
Nobody is perfect but Jackson came pretty close.
Between two levels McClelland finished with 3 wins and 4 losses. He posted a 1.34 ERA and converted 15-of-16 saves. He struck out 42 batters over 53.2 IP and walked 18 in 45 appearances.
A starter in college, Jackson pitched more than an inning 14 times in 2017. He came into the 8th inning 5 times, once was during a doubleheader which he earned the save.
He finished 37-of-45 games he appeared in.
His shortest outing came in a non-save situation during his 4th appearance of the year. In extra innings, McClelland wasn’t able to retire a batter and took the loss.
The right-hander fared a tiny bit better against RHB than LHB. In 111 at-bats
In 111 at-bats, RHB posted a .189 BA while collecting just a double, and 2 triples. Jackson walked 10 and struck out 23.
In 80 at-bats, LHB posted a .238 BA while collecting 8 doubles. McClelland walked 8 and stuck out 19.
The 0.00 HR/9 is first thing that jumps out off the page for the former 2015 draftee. Pretty impressive. Reintroducing a 2-seam fastball during his time in Dunedin allowed him to improve his GB% from 35.3 in Lansing to 52.0%.
Focusing on his time in Advance-A, the tall reliever posted a 6.68 K/9 and 2.14 BB/9 while finishing with a 3.13 K/BB. His 2.72 FIP and 3.51 xFIP suggest that Jackson may have been fortunate to finish with 1.07 ERA in Dunedin.
As a back of the bullpen reliever, Jackson did a good job with runners on base posting a 78.4 LOB%.
The 3 most likely outcomes when Jackson McClelland takes the mound in 2017 were K (43), GB (41), and Flyout (33). Jackson’s batted ball breakdown produced 72 groundballs versus just 20 line drives.
Batters finished with a .234 average off Jackson. The 3 most likely hit locations of Jackson were CF (27), 2nd (24), and LF (22).
I expect New Hampshire to be where Jackson McClelland lands in 2018. He will form a solid backend of the bullpen with Kirby Snead, Daniel Young, and Zach Jackson, all of whom can be used in save situations.
Despite still having two more seasons before being Rule 5 eligible in 2020, McClelland’s performance will force to add him before that but not in 2018. Jackson will likely be stuck, waiting his turn for a shot at the BIGS, at Double-A or Triple-A for the next two seasons.
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Lover of all things Toronto Blue Jays. Blue Jays MiLB fanatic. I strive for average while stumbling onto above average. Rogers isn’t cheap. Baseball is a business. Your right, but I’m more right.