Since the signing deadline has passed and it’s now time to take a more in-depth account of exactly what it is the Jays brought into the organization, I will be researching and evaluating each SIGNED pick from the 2011 class for the Jays. It’s a lengthy process, and some of them may take a little longer to bring together due to lack of information, but hopefully we’ll have it all done well before we bring out our “End of 2011 Top 50 Jays Prospects, JJ edition.” Each time a new article is completed, you’ll have access to it on JJ, through Tweet, and can access the entire 2011 class and our write ups on them here.
Below is everything I could gather about the Jays 1S 35th overall pick, Jacob Anderson.
Introducing Pick#35: Jacob Anderson
Outfielder / 6’4″ 195 lbs / California
Birth Date: November 22nd 1992 (18 years old)
High School Team: Chino “Cowboys”, HS California
College: NA. Had been committed to Pepperdine.
Signed for: $990,000
- Geoff Blum, Chad Cordero and Chris Parmalee are 3 of the 4 other players to be selected from Chino.
- Also has experience at 1B and 3B.
- Was actually ranked as a 1B by some pre-2011 draft (as high as 2nd overall at 1B).
- Has decent speed for his size (6.73 60).
- Made the Inland Valley Bulletin All-Valley Team, the Southern Section All-Division IV Team, and the California All-State Team in 2011.
- Had the 12th highest SPARQ rating (75.29) in the 2010 Area Codes Game, which was higher than Blake Swihart (73.01), as well as higher than fellow Jays draftees John Norwood (70.00) and Tyler Beede (70.67).
- Also made the Rawlings 2nd Team All-American.
- Played in the Baseball Factory 2010 Under Armour All America Baseball Game in Chicago along with fellow Jays signee Dwight Smith Jr, Brandon Nimmo, and Bubba Starling, just to name a few.
- 2011: batted .485 with 11 doubles, 9 triples, 7 HR, 31 RBI, and 24 SB
- A great video of Jacob’s BP here.
- BA: #157
I have to admit that Jacob Anderson was not on my top 10…or even top 20 list when the Jays selected him at #35. However, what I can tell you is that I’ve read and learned a lot about him since that time, and from that information – as well as videos available online, I can definitely see the attraction the Jays had when they selected him.
Keith Law’s reaction to the Jays selection of Anderson in this draft was to Tweet the following:
"“Wow, Blue Jays going for tough signs. Anderson committed to Pepperdine and won’t come cheap.”"
When you watch the videos above, you see that he has a tendency to be a little hesitant in the OF and that his arm is ok but doesn’t really fit into a right-fielder’s mold. Therefore, he’ll likely remain at 1B or make his way towards LF as a pro. The defensive abilities he shows at first base are reportedly above-average, so I tend to go with that position as his future home. He’s athletic enough to man either 1B or the OF, and is said to have smooth hands as a 1B.
What makes Anderson special, however, is his quick powerful swing combined with what is called “explosive hip action”, all of which is clearly visible in the video above. He seems balanced throughout his swing, and the power was on full display as he won the home run derby in the 2010 AFLAC All-American game. While many point to Josh Bell as the best prep bat from the 2011 draft, Anderson’s name continued to be mentioned as one of the most powerful prep bats in the draft. His bat will carry him very far not only due to his power, but also due to his ability to hit for average as well.
Anderson has a ton of work to do in order to climb the minors ladder, but reports state that he is a great student of the game and a hard working person who doesn’t shy away from a challenge. Some say he’ll have to work on using his hands more effectively in his swing, while others say that he has “gap” power instead of all-around power at this point.
The best way to describe the Jays signing of Anderson is that they took one of the top 3 highest power ceilings of the prep category in this draft and gambled that they’ll get one of the best once he develops fully. The risk involved with prep players is always high, as most teams would attest to, but its rewards can also be some of the best to come out of the draft when things go your way. Therefore, I have to give the Jays props for taking a big chance to get one of the best prep big knockers in the draft and truly hope they hit the nail on the head.
There’s no word on when and where Anderson will begin his pro career, but hopefully we’ll have that information for you when we post our next top 50 Jays prospects rankings. However, since he’s nearly 19 years old and has a fair amount of big game experience, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him begin his pro career in Bluefield or Vancouver, bypassing the GCL altogether.
Side note – if anyone knows Jacob Anderson personally and can get in contact with him, we’d love to do a Q&A with him, as there were not out there to be found!
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