Join Jays From the Couch as we review the highlights and lowlights of Toronto Blue Jays top prospect Zach Jackson 2017 season
Relief pitchers don’t often appear on Top Prospect lists but here we have Zach Jackson ranked as Blue Jays 22nd best prospect.
Drafted in the 3rd round of the 2016 Draft, Jackson has moved quickly through Toronto’s system gaining experience at two level in 2016 and 2017 (yes, one inning in the Gulf Coast League counts).
The 6-foot-4 Jackson used his wicked curve/slider and mid-90’s fastball to become one of the Blue Jays bright young relief prospects. After dominating the Midwest League as a member of the Lansing Lugnuts, the 22-yr-old reliever earned a promotion to the Florida State League on June 3rd.
Zach Jackson’s Career Stats
Being a 2016 draftee, the Arkansas alumni easily set career highs in every category with his strong 2017 campaign.
Zach Jackson touched 97 mph on the gun.
Used in multiple situations, Jackson made appearances of 2 IP seven times, converted 5-of-6 save opportunities, and pitched the 9th inning eighteen times. The ability to pitch in every situation allowed Zach Jackson to throw 51 IP over 42 appearances.
The righty reliever held opponents to a combined .175 batting average while striking out 12.48 batters per 9 innings during his time in Dunedin and a combined 12.0 K/9 across two levels for a total of 68 K’s.
The most important skill a reliever can possess is the ability to strand runners. Zach Jackson managed to post an 81% LOB with 5.6 hits allowed per 9 innings and a combined 1.137 WHIP.
The 3 most likely outcomes when facing Zach Jackson in 2017 were K, groundout (34) and flyout or walk (26).
On August 17th Jackson walked one batter and allowed one hit while collecting 5 strikeouts over 1.2IP on 34 pitches.
It’s hard to find any flaws in Zach Jackson’s 2017 performance but control has shown to be something the 22-yr-old will need to work on. During his time with the D-Jays the 22nd ranked prospect posted an ugly 5.23 BB/9 and combined 4.6 BB/9. This high BB/9 caused Jackson to finish with a 2.62 K/BB which is a shame considering his high K/9.
Sticking with the theme of control issues, Jackson uncorked 6 wild pitches with Dunedin and 3 with Lansing for a total of 9 wild pitches in 51 innings.
I expect Zachary Garrett Jackson to move up to Double-A New Hampshire in 2018. MLB Pipeline has placed an ETA for the majors as 2018 which isn’t out of the question. The problem that Jackson faces is Toronto bullpen stocked with young relievers in the form of Roberto Osuna, Ryan Tepera, Danny Barnes, and Dominic Leone, with Carlos Ramirez, Tim Mayza, and Matt Dermody on the rise.
Considering the depth at or near the major league level combined Zach Jackson’s MiLB service time, I don’t see the Blue Jays rushing him to the majors in 2018. This bullpen depth could also cause the Blue Jays to shop the talented reliever this offseason.
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