Andre Jackson Takes Familiar Path
Righthander Andre Jackson is following a couple paths that are familiar to the Dodgers.
The organization has never let a history with Tommy John surgery frighten them at draft time. Caleb Ferguson is one example. Walker Buehler is another.
The 24-year-old Jackson did not play at all during his junior year at Utah in 2017 while recovering from the surgery, but the Dodgers still made him their 12th-round pick.
The 6-foot-3, 210-pound Jackson spent the majority of his college career as an outfielder, throwing just 20.2 innings at Utah.
Jackson logged 68 innings in 2018, his pro debut, between the Rookie-level Arizona League and low Class A Great Lakes. He went 7-2, 3.06 in 25 starts at the Class A levels in 2019.
Jackson spent this summer at the Dodgers' alternate training site, continuing to refine a pitch mix that includes a mid-90s fastball, "a really excellent changeup," a slider that is "cutter-ish" and a curveball, both of which need more consistency.
"It's kind of like a golfer who has all the shots and is starting to learn how to score," Dodgers farm director Will Rhymes said. "That's kind of where Andre is. He has all the pitches and you see them in flashes. It's just a matter of it all coming together.
"When you're as young as he is, you're as good an athlete as he is and each individual pitch is as good as it is, it's just a matter of learning how to score with those pitches."
The Dodgers' depth is so strong that young pitchers on the rise like Tony Gonsolin and Dustin May have had to serve an apprenticeship in a flex role, pitching out of the bullpen at times even though their futures seem to be in the rotation.
Jackson profiles as a starter long term thanks to his four-pitch mix and neutral platoon splits.
"It kind of stacks up with the modern starting pitcher," Rhymes said of Jackson's arsenal. "You look around the NL West and that's what all the starting pitchers seem to have."
— Along with Jackson, the Dodgers also added righthanders Edwin Uceta and Gerardo Carrillo and outfielder Zach Reks to the 40-man roster in advance of the Rule 5 draft.
— Among the prospects left exposed to the Rule 5 draft are infielder Omar Estevez, righthander Brett de Geus and outfielder Cody Thomas. Estevez, 22, signed for a $6 million bonus after leaving Cuba in 2015. He hit .291 in 83 games at Double-A Tulsa in 2019. De Geus, 23, was an Arizona Fall League all-star in 2019. Thomas, 26, was a quarterback at Oklahoma. He hit 23 home runs at Double-A Tulsa in 2019.