Interview: Batavia Starter Jess Todd

The third in our series of exclusive interviews with the Batavia Muckdogs' 2007 New York-Penn League All-Stars is with right-handed starting pitcher Jess Todd.

Pitcher Jess Todd was the St. Louis Cardinals organization's second second round selection in the June 2007 First Year Player Draft, taken 82nd overall. The Texan played collegiate ball for the University of Arkansas where he was both a reliever and Saturday starter.

Todd, a right-handed transfer from Navarro Junior College, was named first team All-Southeastern Conference after a 9-3 campaign with a 2.89 ERA and 128 strikeouts in 93 1/3 innings. The 21-year-old was given a reported $400,000 signing bonus for leaving the SEC powerhouse prior to his senior year.

In his initial action as a professional as a tandem starter for Batavia, the 5-foot-11, 210 pound Todd was impressive. In his first ten appearances through July, he registered a 2.43 ERA, with 51 strikeouts and just 11 walks through 40 2/3 innings pitched.

Todd is said to have a very consistent fastball in the 89-94 MPH range but needs work on his secondary pitches, changeup and slider. His future as a starter versus a reliever may depend on how well he progresses in the latter.

Todd's manager Mark DeJohn offered this scouting report. "The thing about Todd is that he throws strikes. He is always down in the zone. His ball has good movement. It sinks and sometimes it cuts, but he is still able to throw strikes with it. He has a slider that is a good pitch for him, but need to develop his changeup a bit more. He competes very well and doesn't give in to situations."

As August came along, perhaps the righty began to tire. He had already thrown over 130 innings and between all the starting and relieving, had appeared in at least 33 games this season. He allowed six runs in his three August appearances over 9 1/3 innings before being taken out after one inning on August 10.

Though selected to the New York-Penn League All-Star Game, held on August 14, Todd was unavailable to pitch due to a muscle strain in his forearm area. Wisely, the Cardinals organization is being cautious. The plan is for Todd to play catch again in about a week and monitor his progress. The good news is there appears to be no structural damage.

In this exclusive interview, Jess Todd clears up what he wants to be called, discusses his transition from the college to professional ranks, his aspirations for the future and much more.


Brian Walton can be reached via email at

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