Dodgers Prospect Watch: Keeping an Eye on Andre Jackson

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.

Dodgers Prospect Watch: What’s Next for Josiah Gray?

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While the next few weeks will see a handful of young, worthy prospects added to the Dodgers‘ big league expanded roster, there is still a slew of emerging superstars that remains on the fringe, out of the eye of the mainstream public.

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Dodgers Prospect Watch: Gavin Lux Rising Quickly

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(Jerry Espinoza/MiLB.com)

During the 2018 season, there were very few prospects whose stock rose as much as 20-year-old infielder Gavin Lux. Selected by the Dodgers with the 20th overall pick in the first round of the 2016 draft, many people believed that he didn’t live up to his expectations during his debut campaign in 2017, when he struggled with the glove and hit just .244/.331/.362 in 111 games. However, the Wisconsin native came back with a vengeance last season, capping off the year by being named the organization’s Branch Rickey Minor League Player of the Year.

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Drillers, Quakes Capture League Championships

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(Mandatory Credit: Rich Crim/Tulsa Drillers)

For those of you who didn’t stay connected to the media after the Dodgers‘ 3-0 victory over the Cardinals on Friday night, you missed even more good news as the night progressed.

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Dodgers Bullpen: A Look at 3 Emerging Relief Pitchers on the Farm

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(Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Davis/MiLB.com)

Considering the recent struggles of the Dodgers bullpen, there’s bound to be a number of moves on the horizon, even before rosters expand at the beginning of September. Besides the collapse of every available arm in the current crew, there’s been plenty of other news, most specifically the back injury to righty Ross Stripling and yet another setback for hard-throwing right-hander Josh Fields.

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Dodgers Prospect Watch: Will Smith Rising Quickly

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(Photo Credit: Tomo San/Los Angeles Dodgers)

If you’re a regular reader of this site, you’ll know that occasionally we like to pick a position on the Dodgers‘ farm and discuss exactly how much minor league depth there is at that particular position. About twice per year, we take a look at catcher and analyze the top handful of prospects in the system. Up until recently, Keibert Ruiz normally headlined the list; however, at the midway point of 2018, the versatile Will Smith has seemingly overtaken Ruiz and could be on a super-fast track to the big leagues.

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Dodgers Roster: What Does the Offense Need to Improve?

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(Mandatory Credit: Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

If you’ve been a long time reader of this column or a follower of mine on Twitter, you know that I always do my best not to overreact to the ups and downs of a long baseball season. Admittedly, sometimes this is much harder than other times. The beginning of this season has definitely been a challenge. Still, I am not overly worried overall about the state of the Dodgers.

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Dodgers Prospect Watch: Dennis Santana Rising Quickly

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(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

For those of you who are regular readers of this site, you know that we spend a lot of time covering the Dodgers‘ minor league affiliates, especially the Double-A Tulsa Drillers. And for those of you who tuned in frequently over the winter months, you know that we gave a lot of air time time to 21-year-old righty pitching prospect, Dennis Santana.

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Dodgers News & Notes: Jansen, Turner, Quakes, Drillers & More

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(Mandatory Credit: Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire)

For those fans who watched Monday night’s contest against Arizona to the bitter end, they saw a little bit of everything from the Dodgers—sketchy starting pitching, some stellar relief pitching, some timely hitting, and another unimpressive appearance from one of the best closer in baseball.

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2017 in Review: Recalling the Potent Rancho Cucamonga Quakes Offense

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(Mandatory Photo Credit: Lewis Duran)

For those of you who check out our content daily, you’ll know that we do our best to drift down to the Dodgers‘ farm occasionally and provide coverage of one of the most elite systems in minor league baseball. A few weeks ago, we took a look at the historic starting pitching rotation of the 2017 Double-A Tulsa Drillers. Today, we dip down one more level and reflect on the high-powered, Single-A Rancho Cucamonga offense from this past season.

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