- Full name Jeremy Ross Jeffress
- Born 09/21/1987 in South Boston, VA
- Profile Ht.: 6'0" / Wt.: 205 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Halifax County
- Debut 09/01/2010
Drafted in the 1st round (16th overall) by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2006 (signed for $1,550,000).
View Draft ReportJeffress hit 90 mph effortlessly in a bullpen session in a showcase at the University of North Carolina prior to his junior season of high school. He backed it up the following summer at the East Coast Showcase by pitching at 95 mph. Jeffress' easy arm stroke and clean delivery from a high three-quarters arm slot remind some of Dwight Gooden, especially with his high leg kick. He showed the ability to maintain lofty radar readings deep into games, hitting 95, 96 and 97 in the seventh inning with regularity. His breaking ball, a 77-83 mph slider, looms as a potential second plus pitch once he gains consistency in staying on top of it and throwing it for a strike. Jeffress hasn't need to use his changeup much, so that pitch remains a work in progress. Jeffress threw a no-hitter with 10 strikeouts in late April to outduel Virginia Tech signee Rob Whitley. Jeffress is a great athlete who ran the 60-yard dash in 6.76 seconds and could double as a center fielder at the college level. He led his high school basketball team in scoring and three-pointers as a point guard, and his sister Racquel plays basketball at Virginia Union.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Ever since the Brewers picked him with the 16th pick of the 2006 draft, Jeffress has had one of the best arms in the minors. But six seasons later, he's still is working to harness his overpowering fastball. A pair of drug suspensions for marijuana cost him 150 games and hurt his development. A third suspension would cost him a lifetime ban in the minor leagues, but because he's on the 40-man roster, he can't be suspended for recreational drugs. Acquired in the Zack Greinke trade in December 2010, Jeffress opened last season in Kansas City but his control problems landed him in the minors in mid-May. When he can't throw strikes, he relies too much on his 96-100 mph fastball and hitters can sit on it. His 12-to-6 spike curveball can be a plus pitch, but he struggles to locate it in the strike zone. After his demotion, the Royals tweaked Jeffress' arm slot, moving his hand slightly further away from his head. The adjustment made his curve more of an 11-to-5 breaker and allowed him to command it better. He uses a cutter/slider as his third pitch. Jeffress' lack of control and command limit his ceiling. He has the pure velocity to close games, but he's more likely to be a seventh-inning reliever unless he can find a way to throw more strikes. He'll compete for a spot in Kansas City's crowded bullpen in spring training.
Many eyebrows were raised when Milwaukee placed Jeffress on the 40-man roster last June, five months before necessary. After two suspensions for marijuana use in the minors, the 16th overall pick in the 2006 draft was one strike away from a lifetime ban. Players on the 40-man roster can be tested but not suspended for recreational drugs, and the Brewers didn't want to lose the most electric arm in the system. They moved him to the bullpen to help him maintain a daily focus, and his performance on and off the mound earned him a September callup. Jeffress regularly pitches in the mid-90s with his fastball and hit triple digits at the Rising Stars Game in the Arizona Fall League after the season. His heater doesn't have much movement but he throws it with such an easy delivery that he blows it by hitters before they realize what happened. He also has a big-breaking curveball that he struggles to throw for strikes but is devastating when he does. He never mastered a changeup and won't need one as a reliever. Many scouts have projected Jeffress as a closer from the day he was drafted, and his success out of the bullpen did nothing to dispel those thoughts. Assuming Milwaukee opts to keep him in relief, he has a good chance to make their Opening Day roster.
Jeffress has as much sheer talent as any prospect in the system. But his continued pattern of substance abuse casts doubt that he'll ever make it to the majors. He failed multiple drug tests before drawing a 50-game suspension for testing positive for marijuana near the end of the 2007 season. After another positive test last June, he received a 100-game penalty that will carry over into 2010 and leaves him one more strike away from a lifetime ban. The 16th overall pick in the 2006 draft and recipient of a $1.55 million bonus, Jeffress has one of the most powerful arms in the minors. His fastball sits in the mid-90s and has reached 100 mph. His heater lacks life, but he throws it so hard and with such an easy motion that he blows it by hitters before they know what happened. Jeffress throws from a high three-quarters angle that makes his big-breaking curveball tough to hit when he throws it for strikes. He has yet to come close to mastering his changeup, control or command, so his future may lie in the bullpen. He had such difficulty throwing strikes in Double-A last season that the Brewers demoted him as a wakeup call before he was hit with the suspension. Milwaukee had hoped Jeffress would be on the brink of the majors by now, but he spent much of the offseason in a treatment program and his future lies in doubt.
A 2006 first-rounder who signed for $1.55 million, Jeffress began last season serving the remainder of a 50-game suspension for testing positive for marijuana near the end of 2007. He returned in mid-May and earned a second-half promotion to Double-A, a move made so he could qualify for extra work in the Arizona Fall League. With a fastball that often approaches 100 mph, Jeffress is one of the hardest throwers in the minors. His heater doesn't have much movement but he delivers it with a free and easy motion that makes the ball explode on hitters. He throws from a high three-quarters angle that makes his 11-to-5 curveball particularly tough to hit when he gets it over the plate. It's easy to see why, but Jeffress falls in love with the radar gun at times. When he's having trouble commanding his curve, he becomes a one-pitch pitcher. He has worked on his changeup but it's not consistent enough for hitters to worry about it. His control is shaky, leaving him prone to big innings when he can't find the plate. He failed multiple drug tests in the past but has promised the Brewers there will be no relapses. Some scouts think Jeffress would fit nicely as an overpowering closer, but the Brewers still hope he can add enough polish to remain a starter. He left the AFL early with a shoulder strain, but with a big spring, he could open the season in Triple-A.
Jeffress has the best arm in the system, but he drew a 50-game suspension near the end of the 2007 season for testing positive for a drug of abuse. He failed another drug test administered by the team during instructional league, marking the fourth time he has been flagged for marijuana. Jeffress is one of the few pitchers who can actually hit triple digits on the radar gun. He regularly throws his fastball from 93-95 mph and has made progress with his curveball and changeup, making his heater even more devastating. A standout basketball player in high school, he's a good athlete with smooth mechanics and a strong lower body. Jeffress' biggest issue is committing to being a professional after failing four drug tests. On the mound, his control is still erratic, in part because he overstrides in his delivery. Jeffress will start 2008 serving his Minor League Baseball suspension, and the Brewers could impose further discipline for his latest failed test. He could remain a starter as he refines his curve and change, but many scouts believe his fastball velocity makes him a better fit as a closer down the road.
Jeffress had more sheer velocity than any pitcher in the 2006 draft. The Brewers hoped for a quality college arm with the 16th overall pick, but changed gears and took Jeffress, who signed for $1.55 million. Despite control struggles in his pro debut, he rated as the top pitching prospect in the Rookie-level Arizona League. Jeffress regularly throws his fastball in the high 90s, hit 98 mph throughout 2006 and topped out at 102. He's an excellent athlete with smooth mechanics and utilizes his lower half well. He flashes a hard slider, but the pitch is a work in progress. He showed encouraging signs of progress with his offspeed stuff in instructional league. It's hard to succeed as a one-pitch pitcher, and Jeffress will have to refine his slider and changeup. His control is erratic and he wore down by the end of the summer. He's a project, but the long-term payoff could be huge, as scouts compare Jeffress to Dwight Gooden for his velocity, athleticism and easy delivery. He should see low Class A at some point this season.
Minor League Top Prospects
After testing positive for marijuana, Jeffress had to serve a 50-game suspension that lasted until mid-May. In his first game back, he fired a 98 mph fastball and followed it up with a 99 mph heater on his next pitch. He has hit triple digits in the past and has one of the best pure arms in the minors. Jeffress' fastball doesn't have a whole lot of movement, but it explodes out of his hand and leaves hitters struggling to catch up. His delivery helps too, as the ball comes out from a high three-quarters angle that makes it hard to pick up. He also has a hard 11-to-5 curveball that's a plus pitch at times. The rest of Jeffress' game is still a work in progress, which explains why he had a 4.08 ERA despite sometimes overpowering stuff. His changeup is best used as a show-me pitch for now, partly because of the effectiveness of his other two offerings.
The 16th overall pick in June, Jeffress evokes comparisons to Dwight Gooden because of his velocity, athletic ability and easy, clean delivery. Unlike Gooden, Jeffress throws a slider rather than a 12-to-6 curveball as his second pitch, but it comes in with velocity and life as well, sitting in the low 80s at times. Jeffress didn't perform well in his pro debut, but it wasn't for lack of stuff. Several managers reported hearing that he hit triple digits on the radar gun or seeing it themselves. Others said he topped out at 99 but believed he could have thrown harder had he wanted. His 25 walks, 13 wild pitches and six hit batters, however, testify to Jeffress' need to harness his stuff. He didn't show much in the way of offspeed pitches, either. Some managers thought he tired late in the year, but he never got hit hard and didn't surrender a home run.
Top 100 Rankings
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Fastball in the Milwaukee Brewers in 2010
- Rated Best Fastball in the Milwaukee Brewers in 2009
- Rated Best Fastball in the Florida State League in 2008
- Rated Best Fastball in the Milwaukee Brewers in 2008
- Rated Best Fastball in the Milwaukee Brewers in 2007