Image credit: RHP Jackson Jobe (Photo by Bill Mitchell)
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.—In his second full season as a professional, Tigers righthander Jackson Jobe was limited to just 64 innings thanks to a back injury that delayed his 2023 debut until June 17, when he made a tune-up start in the Florida Complex League.
From there, he quickly shot from Low-A to Double-A by season’s end, including turns in the playoffs for the Eastern League champion Erie SeaWolves. At each stop, the righthander overpowered hitters with an arsenal that combines both power and spin.
He finished the year with an overall 70% strike rate, including 54 walks against just three walks in 40 High-A innings. Jobe’s command and control weren’t as pinpoint as usual in his AFL debut—he threw 31 of his 55 pitches for strikes—but he still spun four shutout innings with two hits, two walks and four strikeouts for Salt River on the league’s Opening Day.
Throughout the evening, Jobe, whom Detroit popped in the first round of the 2021 draft out of high school in Oklahoma, used a four-pitch mix that showed flashes of dominance.
The full repertoire included a four-seam fastball that averaged 96 mph and peaked at 98 and also included a nasty cutter in the low-90s, a sweepy slider in the mid 80s with an average spin rate of more than 3,000 rpm and a mid-80s changeup.
Jobe got nine swings and misses—three apiece on the four-seam fastball and slider, two on the changeup and one of the cutter—good for a 16.3% whiff rate. All four of Jobe’s strikeouts were finished by swings and misses.
Jobe also did a good job inducing weak contact, getting five grounders against just two flyouts. Arguably the biggest mistake he made came in the fourth inning, when he allowed a ringing double to White Sox prospect Bryan Ramos on a poorly located fastball just a pitch after getting Ramos to wave through two consecutive sliders.
Even though he didn’t display the same precision as he did during the regular season—and the tighter strike zone in play thanks to the automatic ball-strike challenge system at Salt River Fields might have been a factor—Jobe’s first turn in the AFL contained plenty of moments when it was easy to see why his ceiling is so high.
OTHER PROSPECTS OF NOTE
Oakland’s 2021 first-rounder, shortstop Max Muncy, opened his AFL campaign in a big way. Against Surprise, the California prep product went 4-for-5 with a double, a home run and a stolen base. The 21-year-old split the regular season between High-A Lansing and Double-A Midland, hitting a combined .275/.353/.411 with 35 doubles and 10 home runs.
Brewers prospect and 2023 Southern League home run champion Wes Clarke clubbed his first AFL home run, going deep off Yankees farmhand Noelberto Henriquez in Surprise’s win over Mesa. The South Carolina alum hit 26 longballs for Biloxi in the regular year.
Guardians prospect Chase DeLauter opened his AFL season in a big way, slamming a home run in the third inning of Peoria’s lid-lifter against Scottsdale. The James Madison alum missed a chunk of the season with a broken foot but still impressed enough to work his way onto BA’s Top 100 prospects. He finished the day 2-for-4 with five RBIs and a stolen base.
Giants lefty Jack Choate has one of the more intriguing fastballs in the AFL, and he got his campaign off to a strong start with four strikeouts in two shutout innings for his Scottsdale club. The 6-foot-6 Assumption product struck out 87 hitters in 68 innings in the regular season, which he split between Low-A San Jose and High-A Eugene.
Arizona Fall League Tuesday Probable Starters
Tuesday’s AFL pitching matchups
Mesa at Salt River — Peter Van Loon (Orioles) vs. Dylan Smith (Tigers)
Glendale at Scottsdale — Jake Eder (White Sox) vs. Tekoah Roby (Cardinals)
Peoria at Surprise — Logan Workman (Rays) vs. Ricky Tiedemann (Blue Jays)
|DeLauter, Chase||PEJ||CLE||4||2||2||5||1||1||.500||.500||1.250||HR, SB|
|DiChiara, Sonny||SCO||LAA||5||1||1||3||0||2||.200||.200||.800||HR, SB|
|Brown Jr., Eric||SUR||MIL||5||2||2||2||0||1||.400||.400||.800||3B|
|Clarke, Wes||SUR||MIL||5||3||3||4||0||1||.600||.600||1.600||3B, HR|
|Sabato, Aaron||GDD||MIN||4||1||1||1||0||1||.250||.250||1.000||HR, SB|
|Muncy, Max||MSS||OAK||5||2||4||2||0||1||.800||.800||1.600||2B, HR, SB|
|Rincones Jr., Gabriel||SCO||PHI||4||1||2||0||1||2||.500||.600||.750||2B|
|Marsee, Jakob||PEJ||SDP||3||1||2||0||1||0||.667||.750||1.000||2B, 2 SB|
|Bliss, Ryan||PEJ||SEA||3||2||2||1||2||0||.667||.800||1.000||2B, SB, CS|