Dodgers Prospect Watch: Keeping an Eye on Andre Jackson

(Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

One common conversation lately among fans of the Dodgers has revolved around which players in the minor leagues are closest to being ready for the majors. So far, we’ve been able to see a lot of this speculation tested out, as the Los Angeles roster has been changing almost weekly with new faces.

Surprisingly, all but two pitchers on the club’s 40-man roster have been recalled to the majors this year—righty pitchers Gerardo Carrillo and Andre Jackson.

Jackson, who turned 25 just last month, is interesting in the sense that he’s another converted position player, having excelled in the outfield at the University of Utah. He was a blue chipper in high school and was selected by the Rangers in the 32nd round of the 2014 MLB draft, but he ultimately opted for college. He dabbled as a reliver his sophomore year as a Ute, but he couldn’t find a way to trim his ERA below 6.00 in almost a dozen appearances.

As it turned out, Jackson underwent UCL surgery during his 2017 campaign at Utah, but the Dodgers still saw enough talent in the Arizona native to snag him in the 17th round of the draft that year, fully intending on developing him as a pitcher.

The 6-foot-3, 210-pound Jackson eventually made his professional debut for Great Lakes in 2018, which at the time was the organization’s Low-A affiliate. In 2019, he went 7-2 with a 3.06 ERA (39 ER/114.2 IP) and a 1.28 WHIP in 25 starts between Great Lakes and High-A Rancho Cucamonga. Jackson’s inclusion in last year’s 60-man player pool might reflect how much the team values him. He was added to the club’s 40-man roster last November to protect him from Rule 5 selection.

During 2021 Cactus League play, he made three appearances, all in relief.

Jackson owns a 12-8 record with a 3.32 ERA (80 ER/217.0 IP) and 261 strikeouts in 51 career minor league games, 49 of which were starts. So far this year for Double-A Tulsa, he has posted a 2-1 record with a 2.62 ERA, a .180 BAA, and an impressive 0.90 WHIP in eight games, seven which were starts. He has struck out 44 batters over 34-1/3 innings of work and has surrendered only nine walks, a problem he seems to be improving upon significantly. In 2018, he allowed 45 walks over an even 68 innings.

Jackson is currently ranked No. 28 on MLB Pipeline‘s Top 30 prospect list for the Dodgers.

According to MLB Pipeline, “Jackson is extremely athletic and possesses a quick arm that delivers 92-96 mph fastballs that reach 98 and feature late finish. His 78-82 mph curveball shows some signs of effectiveness, and he’s also working on a mid-80s slider/cutter.”

Because of his late transition to pitching, Jackson’s secondary stuff is still raw. For this reason, some scouts feel that he may have a higher ceiling as a reliver, especially if the Dodgers decide to start his MLB clock sooner rather than later.

In his last start against Arkansas on June 15, Jackson threw 71 pitches over five full innings, allowing just one earned run on three hits and a walk. He struck out nine.

39 thoughts on “Dodgers Prospect Watch: Keeping an Eye on Andre Jackson

  1. I saw Jackson pitch when he was at Rancho and he was definitely impressive, all the more so when we take into account how short a time he’s actually been a pitcher.

    Dennis, I think you forgot Reks when you mention that only two guys on the 40-man haven’t been called up this year, unless you were referring specifically to pitchers.

    And lastly, Happy Father’s Day to all you fathers out there.
    I’m attaching a link to a Nightengale story about Andrew Toles and his father. For those of us who are fathers and Toles fans it’s incredibly sad and uplifting at the same time. I wish them both well and hope that someday Andrew is able to enjoy a Dodger game again, even if just from the stands or on TV.

      1. I just want you to know, Dennis, that I appreciate the work you guys do in posting on a regular basis. In case you ever think that people just gloss over what you write, I want you to know that I read every single word. 🙂

        On the other hand, Andy actually mentioned my name in a post the other day and it totally slipped past me. Oh well.

  2. Darn Dennis. He’s 25 years old and the dodgers have 27 prospects ahead of him? By definition He’s not really a prospect, he falls into the career minor leaguer category. We know they have little on the farm but?? There must be someone say in the top 10 or in the prospect age we could talk about.
    OOPS. Sorry. My bias took over for a minute.

    1. Actually, he’s only pitched in two full minor league seasons, so I doubt we can call him a career minor leaguer. Being that he started out in Low-A in 2018, pitched in High-A in 2019, and hit the 60-man player pool last year, I would say he’s probably on the track he should be, especially for a converted outfielder who didn’t start pitching until college.

  3. Happy Fathers Day. I read the Toles story. It was indeed a heart wrenching piece. I will always wonder what if.

  4. Miller is moving up fast and Gray is said to have legitimate MLB potential. Jackson, Carrillo, White, etc need to be very special to make the MLB roster next year. Although Price’s contract is up. Will May be avaiaible to pitch in the Spring? I think maybe at half-year point if there is a season next year as I expect a long brutal strike.
    Buehler, Gonsolin, Urias, Kershaw, and Bauer are penciled in for 2022 right now.

    1. Price’s contract runs through 2022, although the way the Dodgers are using him he’s just another bullpen piece at this point.

      So I take it that you don’t expect Bauer to opt out of his 45 million dollar salary next year? 🙂

      As Dennis has pointed out, although Jackson isn’t exactly the youngest prospect, he has relatively little pitching experience (in his head or his arm) so I think a 2023 arrival sounds about right for him, assuming he actually becomes part of the Dodger staff at some point. Gray is another one who started pitching late in his high school/college career. These guys can’t be judged as prospects the same way as a kid who has been pitching since he was 12 years old. The fact that they are as advanced as they are with relatively little pitching experience speaks well for their future.

      1. I do not expect there to be much of a season in 2022, I hope I am wrong. I forgot Price’s deal went through 2022. The Dodgers know they have too many arms coming up fast hence the DFA of Santana as he cannot throw strikes.
        I agree Jackson and Gray are different as they are converted, position players.
        It’s clear that the MLB management does not talk to the owners on policy. If anyone had told the Dodgers they were going to go after Illegal substance use on pitchers signing Bauer would have been iffier as he admits to suing it.
        I saw Vargas play and he is impressive physically and he makes contact.

  5. Gray has a shoulder problem right now, and probably won’t get a call until next season at the earliest. Might be the last game for Burns, no doubt he will go down when one of the big 3 gets activated. Going to miss today’s tiff. I am going over to a friends house and do some pickin. Need a break every now and then .

  6. I’m always curious when reading about young pitchers who can throw as high as 98 but among the other pitches in their arsenal I don’t see a change up. It’s not that difficult to learn. In the old days it was just a palm ball thrown over the middle of the plate. Now the circle change is even better but it moves more so it’s a little more difficult to control. But if you throw 98 a good change could get you to the Major Leagues. Learn Gagne “Vulcan Grip” change and Jackson’s in the Majors next year.

    Have to admit I’m not familiar with Jackson. With his history I’m not concerned about his age. If he’s successful at AA he’ll be on every team’s radar.

  7. I’m always concerned about 25 year olds. If they are good they are in the bigs at 23.if they are 25 and haven’t been up and down fir a few years they are career minor leaguers. Can’t think of many converted pitchers who made it (except kenley). Usually a team says he’ll never make it. Oh wait he’s got a great arm . Let’s make him a pitcher. But they are almost always gone by 25/26. And the up side if he does make it is 2/3 years as a bottom of the rotation on a bad team. Certainly not the dodgers. Oh darn I’ve done this twice today.

    1. Depends. If the guy has been in the minors for several years I agree that 25 is old for a prospect. Jackson has been in the minors 3 years. He had surgery a few years ago and now appears to be pitching well. If he continues to pitch well at AA, with the current stats posted by Dennis, he could get a serious look soon. The organizational plan is to develop. If this guy keeps getting people out he’s got value, if not for us then for somebody else. Include him in a trade for Rodriguez. Jackson could pitch in Pittsburgh now.

      1. Maybe Jackson will get a look sooner rather than later. Seems like most of the Dodgers’ low-leverage relievers right now aren’t even suitable for mop-up roles.

      2. Victor Gonzalez has been decent this year along with Treinen, Nelson, and Jansen has reverted to his old self despite many of our reservations. I do not understand why Roberts pulled Gonsolin at 46 pitches as he was still pitching reasonably well and he needs to stretch out and with the lead he had could have gone 6 or 7.
        Uceta has gotten some MLB time and hopefully understands what he needs to work on. I would like to see Jackson and Carrillo get some time to see how they compete. It’s a very long season. Has anyone read the status on Gray? He went out in May with irritation and I have not read anything lately.

      3. The reason for the pitch limitation on Gonsolin is that he had a shoulder problem after his last start (80+ pitches) and then it bothered him again today warming up. Gonsolin says it isn’t the same thing that put him on the IL and that he’s confident he’ll be ready for his next start. Roberts says it is the same thing and they’re trying to manage it. It would be nice if they could arrange to tell the same story but either way this looks to me like another IL trip waiting to happen.

        We apparently don’t feel that Nelson and Price are best used as starters, even though both have been successful at that in the past, so if I’m Andrew Friedman, I’m going out tomorrow and trading for an innings eater who can give us 75-90 pitches every 5th day. We simply can’t afford to keep doing these bullpen games because these guys won’t have anything left for the playoffs.

        Yes, we could try Jackson or Carillo but I would much prefer an establish major league pitcher, even if he isn’t a particularly outstanding one. Just to eat innings every 5th start. If this doesn’t look optimal, what happens when one of our top 4 starters goes down on top of not having a 5th starter? Andrew needs to trade for a major league starter now, someone a non-contender would be happy to move off their roster for a couple of half-decent prospects (maybe in our 20-30 range).

      4. I know many people do not agree with me, but I would suggest they use the Farm guys. A cheap inning eater is not very successful. They can try Vesia, Jackson, Carrillo, or others if Gonsolin goes down again. What do they have to lose? If they bring in a mediocre starter from another team that to me is a sideways move rather than a positive. I do agree they need to get someone to eat innings in that 5th start I have a very hard time believing they do not have a pitcher at the minor league level that can contribute.

      5. I like your line of thinking, but I believe we’ve seen the damage that can result by using Vesia. He has glimpses of decency, but there’s nothing consistent at all with him. His FIP was over 7.00 and his WHIP was over 1.40 when he was up.

        With Jackson, I think they don’t want to use him because his secondary stuff is still developing. If they bring him up now, he’s not gonna succeed with just a plus fastball. If he has an effective slider to mix with a heater, then that’s a different story. What excites me is his K/9. If he’s a strikeout machine with his fastball, just imagine his ceiling with at least one decent breaking ball.

        The other important thing with the younger guys is confidence. You bring them up when they’re not ready and it just scars them when they get hammered. I believe that confidence is huge. Oftentimes, it’s just an innate trait that a pitcher is blessed with. Take a guy like Kershaw—he had an air of confidence forever. You could see it in him as a 20 year old. Buehler is the same way. As is Bauer. You can see it in Urias, too. Definitely something you can’t teach, but I believe it can be nurtured to a degree when they’re younger.

      6. I have no clue what they have in mind. Every starter we have will need some time off in the heat of summer. The guys I thought we would see were Gray and White. But there are other guys that we could in an emergency give starts to – Pepiot is 23, Jackson is 24, Grove is 24. The 4A guys at OKC? Maybe someone more knowledgeable than me can tell us who is the most likely to come up. I looked at the stats and nobody jumps out, but, isn’t that what they’re there for? Bibens-Dirkx? Yefry Ramirez? Aaron Wilkerson? If our offense is churning it may not matter, but, finding an innings eater or two for the summer sounds like a good idea to me.

  8. I really don’t think there is anybody down there that could help right now. We’ve tried most of them with generally dismal results and I presume the rest aren’t ready/good enough or we would have seen them by now. Another injury to the top 4 would be disastrous .Jeff is right although who would we get thats better than price or Nelson. Maybe we need a couple of relievers and get price/Nelson into the rotation.

    1. That does make sense. We’ve tried several and none have impressed to the point we can feel confident putting them in to protect late innings against a team like the Padres. I guess that’s why a trade might be the way to go. It sure would be helpful to see Gonsolin go 5-6. With May gone, he’s the guy that is next up.

      1. You never know until you throw someone in the deep end. These guys are professional athletes give some of them a shot. Uceta has had flashes but is obviously not ready to compete. Give Carrillo & Jackson the same opportunity to see where they fit or don’t have the right stuff. I have always found going for it was a good choice. If I failed I figured out why and addressed it and tried again. Guys that impressed at the AZ site last year like Pepiot who has a killer change could probably do well. Sometimes that added boost of you are at the Show can help focus. A lot of success in anything is mental.
        Look at Miller in A ball he is tearing it up. They always said Buehler was cocky. That is exactly the way you want a starting pitcher to be.
        I do not believe there isn’t someone on the Dodger Farm that cannot compete.

      2. Bummer about Gray. He was the obvious choice.

        There’s also option numbers to consider. The older guys, with a couple years of college make the most sense. We have a few of those. Which few will look the most prepared in another month? I might go with Pepiot who has decent velocity but more importantly has a developed change up. He’s 24 in August. Another guy to consider is Beeter who has three 60 grade pitches. Though his current overall stats don’t warrant a look now, he’s K/9 is 12.3. He’s obviously got the stuff. There’s also David Price. Could he possibly go 5? Mitch White. 3.77 ERA isn’t horrible but a 1.6 WHIP borders on it.

        I think something we may have to eventually look into is an organizational change in training philosophy.

    2. I don’t think we could find anyone that would be a better pitcher than Nelson or Price at the cost we would be willing to pay, but I also don’t think the front office is ready to make either of those guys a starter. I can’t figure out why that is, but they certainly have more access to information than we do.

      That’s why I think we need to get a major leaguer with experience rather than continuing to bring up young guys from the farm all of whom have proven that they aren’t ready yet, or never will be. This is where TMax and I disagree. I think if you bring up a guy too soon and he gets raked a couple of times, you can really destroy his confidence and cause him to take longer to get back and stick. Just a difference of opinion on that subject, but that’s why blogs exist.

      1. Point taken. The “too soon” might be a subjective consideration. That’s why I’m thinking an older prospect might be more suited for the assignment. It’s an incredible opportunity for someone. Who is ready for it? If the answer is “nobody”, well, that feels like an organizational problem to me.

      2. The question is how deep is an organization required to be? At the beginning of the year we had 8 potential starters for 5 spots: Kershaw, Buehler, Bauer, Urias, Price, May, Gonsolin, Nelson. They have apparently chosen not to use Price and Nelson as starters. May is hurt and out for the year. Gonsolin is hurt, depending on whether you are listening to Tony or Doc. At times an organization will be stronger in the low minors while other times at the AAA level. This is one of those lower level times if we don’t consider the fact that actually May and Gonsolin were the guys before they got hurt. I don’t consider this an organizational shortcoming, it’s just where the chips have fallen this year.

        AF knows best who might be ready if we stay in our own system. I think probably most people would pick Gray but………………he’s hurt (add him to May and Catman as youngsters who were on the cusp). Of the other guys, I would tend to look first at Bobby Miller and then Pepiot if I were going to do something this week. Frankly, I don’t think either one is quite ready, but I’m fine with it if Andrew feels they are.

        With Seager, Muncy and Bellinger due back shortly I think our offense can make up for any shortcomings we might have with a #5 fringe starter with major league experience, guys like Cahill or Petit who have had some success in the past. As a matter of fact Petit is vastly underrated, but is also on the A’s and they aren’t going to trade him.

      3. Yep, we all get to air our thoughts without any feelings being hurt. I like the idea of trying Nelson as he has been a successful starter and of course so has Price rather than trading for a try for a mediocre starter from someone.
        If a guy comes up and gets shelled and it hurts his confidence then he probably isn’t going to be a front-line starter and the Dodgers should trade him. A player needs that inner confidence or they will never make it. Look at Turner and Muncy they had been cut but still had the fire. That’s the type of player you need to have a Championship Team. Nelson and Knebel were hurt and basically cut but they fought back.
        I think to be successful and improve you must compete against people more experienced and at least as talented as you are. Miller is dominating A-Level. Does that help him? I doubt it. He should immediately be brought up to Tulsa.
        You can’t shield your kids or your players from competition or reality. It stunts their growth rather than encourages it.

      4. That’s a valid argument. Better competition makes a player better.
        On the other hand, None of the guys we’re talking about (prospect wise) are on the 40-man, so every time AF tries a new experiment it requires dumping someone. There are certainly a few candidates but I’m not sure he want to do all that churning. Time will tell. We shall see. Etc, etc, etc.

      5. Jackson is on the 40-man roster and his WHIP and SO to BB are good. Why not see what he has? Some guys rise to the challenge. Hopefully from their experience in the Majors Uceta and Vesia have learned they must throw strikes and use their secondary pitches. Carrillo is also on the 40-man but getting thumped in Tulsa.
        I have always thought that trying and failing is good for you, as long as it doesn’t maim or kill you LOL…

  9. We have a handful of players we can dump off the 40 man. I tend to agree. Get the youngsters up now and give them a chance. Or else we’ll be doing it in September. As stated if young and you get bombed and it hurts your confidence you don’t belong here anyway. Most 21/22 year Olds don’t do well the first year anyway.

  10. Yeah, lots of injuries, that’s for sure. And that’s why I suggested an organizational shift in training strategies.

    As for who is next, if there isn’t anybody then we have to go outside the organization, and to get anybody that’s going to help is likely going to require at least one, maybe more, of the guys we are talking about. So, the strategy of trying the next up in our system makes sense to me. If it doesn’t work, of well. I believe it was Wayne Gretzky who said “you won’t get a hit if you don’t swing”, so if the goal is to put a win in the net…. I’ll stop there…

    1. With the idea of using an older guy (28) out of Cuba originally what about Nunez at OKC? He has a very high SO rate and a solid WHIP around 1.16. What the heck give him a shot…

  11. You know our injury problems are not anywhere near as bad as a lot of other teams. Something has to be done around the league. Training strategies just not working anymore anywhere in the league.. God knows why. I don’t think this is happening in other leagues, which are all contact sports. Anyone seen any stats?

    1. I haven’t Gordon. It would be interesting to know if it’s as worse as it’s ever been.

    2. I have not been paying much attention. It’s hard to match the Dodgers as May, Knebel, Alexander, Graterol, Gonsolin, Bellinger, Muncy, Seager, are either lost for the season or have lost a lot of time. When you look at the Dodgers those are high-impact position players and starting pitchers.

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