The Los Angeles Dodgers are a team with a rich history of standout pitching. They made a nice choice, if not a surprising one, by selecting Jacksonville University right-handed pitcher Chris Jackson with their first choice in the MLB First Year Player Draft.
Jackson has the size to make it to the big leagues, but he will need to work on his strength to catch up to his 6-foot-4, 214-pound frame.
That shouldn’t be a problem for the 20 year old who throws a 97 mph fastball and can back that up with a devastating change-up.
The blue crew went against their own traditional way of drafting last year by selecting a shortstop with their first choice, also in the 18th spot.
Its no secret that all MLB teams covet pitching. But halfway down the draft board, the scouts have to go deep into their reports to find a possible ace in the hole.
Chances are Jackson will go directly to the Ogden Raptors, the Dodgers’ rookie affiliate in Utah, and be worked on as a starter. He will need to prove at his young age that he can go deep into games during a longer season. One of the negative issues on his scouting report was he may have started to suffer from fatigue late in April towards the end of his college season.
You can bet the Dodgers’ pitching coaches will treat the big guy with kid gloves at first as they try to develop him into a front line starter within a couple of years.
The long term prospects for the Dodgers, with the rash of injuries to their pitching staff, is that Jackson could be the type who learns quickly and moves up through the farm system quickly.