The Toronto Blue Jays have drafted right-handed pitcher Zach Jackson with their third-round pick
With their first pick on day two of the 2016 MLB Draft, the Toronto Blue Jays have grabbed a highly-skilled arm with the potential to be fast-tracked through the minor leagues.
Jackson has mammoth talent in his right arm, but as his draft position suggests, the 21-year-old also comes with an elevated level of risk.
In 2016 with the Razorbacks, Jackson took a step back after producing ERAs of 2.10 and 2.53 in his two seasons prior. Jackson posted a 5.09 ERA this year, starting five games and coming out of the bullpen 13 times.
Across 53.0 innings, Jackson struck out an impressive 66 batters. Unfortunately, that was offset by an eye-popping 40 walks.
As you can see, Jackson’s explosive delivery does come with some pitch-to-pitch inconsistencies.
As another college arm, though, and especially as a relief pitcher with swing-and-miss stuff, Jackson does have the potential to make a quick rise towards the upper-minors and major league level. Jackson, just as much as a raw high school arm, will be a real project for the Blue Jays pitching coaches.
Jackson throws a fastball and curve with a slider. Outgoing Arkansas pitching coach Dave Jorn told Tom Murphy of Arkansas Online that he still sees Jackson as a pure reliever despite his brief rotation stint this past season.
“I’ve always felt that Zach was a reliever,” he said, “and I think out of necessity and somewhat out of his desire to try and start … we gave him that opportunity. But I just didn’t ever feel that he was a starter. I thought with his command of pitches and a little bit more of the power type of stuff, he would be more suited to pitch in a relief role.”