- Full name Jesse Allen Litsch
- Born 03/09/1985 in Pinellas Park, FL
- Profile Ht.: 6'1" / Wt.: 235 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School South Florida
- Debut 05/15/2007
- Drafted in the 24th round (717th overall) by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2004.
Organization Prospect Rankings
The Rockies failed to sign Litsch as a 37th-rounder out of high school in 2003, and the Jays had to wait an additional year to land him as a draft-and-follow after taking him in the 24th round in 2004. He moved to high Class A to start his first full season after spending much of his pro debut dominating the Appy League, and he earned a promotion to Double-A by July. The aggressive Litsch is unafraid of contact. He has no knockout pitch, but he commands an 88-92 mph four-seam fastball with enough natural cutting action to put hitters away. He also throws a two-seamer, curveball, slider and changeup. He's able to throw his curveball for strikes and get hitters to chase it out of the zone. The Blue Jays can't say enough about his makeup. Litsch struggled in his first exposure to Double-A because he relied too much on his cutter, which hitters recognized. His slider was also less effective because it was too similar to his cutter. Toronto would like to see Litsch incorporate more curveballs and changeups into his mix. Litsch recovered to give up just two runs in his final three Double-A starts and is a safe bet to begin back at New Hampshire in 2007. He profiles as a back-of-the-rotation starter.
The Rockies tried to sign Litsch as a 37th-round draft-and-follow from 2003, and considered redrafting him in 2004. When he declined both offers, the Blue Jays took him in the 24th round in 2004 and came to terms with him as a draft-and-follow after he spent a second season at South Florida Community College. Litsch had a dominant pro debut, overmatching Appy League hitters with four pitches and excellent control. He goes straight after hitters, mixing his 88-92 mph four-seam fastball, which cuts away from righthanders; a slider he throws at 84-86 mph with plus potential; a fading changeup; and a solid-average curve he throws to alter batters' eye levels. He's an aggressive pitcher, though sometimes he'll try to be too fine and throw a perfect slider when he just needs to throw the pitch for a strike. Toronto is trying to get him to throw his pitches on more of a downward plane, as he occasionally loses his direction to the plate. He'll head to low Class A to begin 2006.
Minor League Top Prospects
A draft-and-follow from 2004 who signed in May, Litsch pitches with intensity and commands his stuff very well. He aggressively attacks hitters with three pitches he throws for strikes--an 88-92 mph fastball, a slider and a fading changeup he learned during the season. He also worked on a downer curveball to change batters' eye levels. His slider, already above-average at 84-86 mph, could develop into a plus offering. He also proved durable, working six or more innings in eight of his 11 starts before a promotion to the short-season New York-Penn League. "Litsch was easily the pitcher of the year for me," Nelson said. "He showed plus location and he changed speeds. He knows what he's doing on the mound. I don't know who tutored him, but they did a great job."