Jeremiah Jackson Leaves Indelible Mark
The sprinkling of at-bats he got this spring belie the impression Jeremiah Jackson made on the coaching staff. The 21-year-old shortstop left an indelible mark despite going 0-for-11 with five strikeouts.
“There’s no question in my mind he’s a big league player,” manager Joe Maddon said. “How far in the future, I don’t know, but this is one of those guys when you watch him closely and start breaking it down, you know he’s gonna be pretty good.”
Jackson was a rail-thin 6 feet, 165 pounds when the Angels picked him as a 2018 second-rounder from St. Luke's Episcopal School in Mobile, Ala.
He showed eye-popping power in his first full season, batting .266 with 23 homers and 60 RBIs in 65 games for Rookie-level Orem in 2019, but he also had a 33% strikeout rate.
Jackson spent time at the alternate training site last summer and several months last fall working out in Arizona, putting on what he called “good weight.” Now at 180 pounds, Jackson said, “I’ve gotten bigger, faster, stronger, which helps for hitting."
It showed this spring, even if his numbers didn’t reflect it.
Jackson has played second base in the minor leagues and some third base last summer, fueling speculation he could be moved off shortstop, but Maddon thinks he has the athleticism, agility, hands and arm to stick at short.
“He’s a shortstop,” Maddon said. “Technically, he has good mechanics fielding the ground ball and throwing it. He moves really well. He’s the kind of guy you’d prefer to keep on the dirt rather than move to the outfield because he’s really competent there. He has great makeup. His work ethic is outstanding.”
Jackson, who will likely open the season at Low-A Inland Empire, agrees with Maddon’s assessment.
“I really believe I can play shortstop," Jackson said. "I think I have the glove for it, and I’m only getting better. I have to fine-tune a few things, clean up a few things, make it a little more smooth and efficient. But as far as ability, I feel like I have it.”
— The Angels returned Rule 5 pick Jose Alberto Rivera, who pitched in just one Cactus League game, to the Astros. Maddon said he liked what he saw from the 24-year-old righthander but hadn’t seen enough of him to warrant keeping him on the big league roster.
— The Angels optioned Jo Adell to the minor leagues on March 21, ensuring that the top outfield prospect, who hit .161 with a .478 OPS in 38 games as a rookie in 2020, will open the season at the team’s alternate training site.