Top Dodger Prospects #3 - Edwin Jackson

We continue to count down among the top Dodger prospects.


Position- Starting Pitcher
Residence-Columbus, Ga.
DOB- Sept. 9, 1983
B/T- R-R
04 Club(s)- Las Vegas (AAA); Los Angeles (National)

This coming season could go a long way toward determining if Edwin Jackson's drive toward becoming a dominant pitcher in the big leagues has been derailed or merely delayed. It was on his 20th birthday, Sept. 9, 2003, that he made his major league debut in spectacular fashion giving up just one run and only four hits in pitching six innings of a 4-1 victory over Arizona, defeating no less than Randy Johnson in the process.

He went on to a 2-1, 2.45 major league record; that following a 7-7, 3.70 season at Jacksonville in which he struck out 157 batters in 148 innings. The Dodgers were so sure he had arrived that he was anointed as a member of the starting staff even before the next spring training.

Last spring, though, was when the wheels began to fall off. He had so little success then that he not only failed to gain a starter's berth but was instead optioned to Las Vegas. There, matters seldom got better as he posted a hum-drum 6-4, 5.86 mark. He did receive another big league call-up and again was 2-1 but with an ERA of 7.30 this time around. More than a few doubts set in as a result.

None of the bad things happened, however, because of a loss of his primary stuff. He can still hit 97 mph on the gun and is consistently in the mid-90's with his fast ball. He also has a slider that batters term"filthy". His changeup seems to come and go.

What seems to be occurring is simply the result of moving up quickly with his lack of experience painfully exposed at times. After all, he was primarily an outfielder in high school when he was made a sixth-round draft choice in 2001 although scout Lon Joyce had made note of his promising arm strength.

It had first been decided to use him as a designated hitter/pitcher but that was soon abandoned when he began to develop quickly on the mound. He went 2-1, 2.45 in the Gulf Coast, then after a strong showing in the 2002 extended spring was vaulted to Columbus (South Atlantic) where he posted a 5-2, 1.98 record, holding the opposition to a .206 batting average. He easily would have won in double figures except for a plethora of no-decisions, reaching his pitch count with a lead a dozen times only to have the bullpen toss it away.

In 2004, though, his command deserted him too often and his pitches seem to flatten out and become hittable. There's plenty of time to correct those faults and if he does, he could be a frontline starter possibly as soon as this coming season.