Position: Right-handed Pitcher
Jacobson was the Tigers 4th round pick in this year's draft out of Vanderbilt, and he follows a similar theme to many 2008 draft picks of the Tigers; he has a strong right arm. Jacobson arrived at Vandy with much fanfare, having been named the Gatorade Arizona Player of the Year, EA Sports All-American, and the All-Arizona Baseball Player of the Year by the Arizona Republic as a high school senior in 2005. The Arizona Diamondbacks selected the hometown kid in the 11th round after he finished his final prep season with an 11-1 record and 100 strikeouts in 74 1/3 innings. Jacobson was also a standout basketball player for Cactus Shadows High School.
Brett only made six appearances as a freshman for the Commodores, but picked up two wins in the process. In 2007, Price finished 6-3 with a 3.15 ERA in 74 1/3 innings, and he pitched three games in the NCAA Regionals against Michigan. Jacobson pitched for Orleans of the Cape Cod League following the 2007 campaign, and after struggling to find consistency at the start, he broke out with a six innings, fifteen strikeout performance that truly showed scouts what he was capable of. Brett struck out 52 and walked 18 in 43 1/3 innings on the Cape last summer.
Jacobson entered the season as a key member of Vandy's starting rotation, but he wasn't able to get on track and was sent packing to the bullpen. As a late reliever for the Commodores, he thrived, letting loose with his big fastball, and notching four saves and striking out 42 in 46 innings.
Jacobson has yet another big arm. Are you sensing a theme here in the Tigers draft? In the rotation, Brett can sit at 94-95, but he gets more movement and better command when he works at 91-93. At the lower speed his fastball is less hittable and he is able to keep it down in the zone with much greater frequency. When he actually ‘pitched' on the Cape, he was virtually unhittable, but he was not able to parlay that success to the college season in 2008. There are some rumblings that his stuff just doesn't play well in the college game, and he could be a far better starter in the pros.
As a reliever this year, Brett's slider was sharper and harder, with better bite and depth. It became a true out pitch in that role, and there are some scouts who believe that can transfer to the rotation with him. He also mixes in a change-up that sits in the low-80s with good sink. He must learn to move his change to the corners with more regularity, but he has shown a feel for the pitch.
If Jacobson can slide the success with his slider and command that he found in the bullpen, back to the rotation, the Tigers may have found themselves a gem. There are many scouts that still believe he has everything needed to be a starter, and the Tigers could give him a chance to fulfill that potential. If for some reason things don't click in the rotation, his aggressive mentality and hard fastball could make for a nice relief option.
Performance Level Team W-L ERA G GS SV SO BB IP AVG CLG
Jacobson has been healthy straight through high school and college, and his college workloads have left his arm generally fresh and ready for innings. He has an ideal pitchers frame with a lean, tapered body that generates an easy, loose delivery.
Another college arm that has a chance to be tried as a starter with his success as a reliever sitting as a backup plan, Jacobson has shown enough as a starter in the past that the Tigers may be very tempted to give a chance in the rotation. He is a confident pitcher who is considered very coachable and willing to listen to ways to improve his game. An intelligent kid, if the Tigers instructors can get through to him, he has a very high ceiling. Until his ultimate role is determined, it will be difficult to pin down his timetable to Detroit, but there is no reason to think he can't move swiftly.
Mark Anderson is TigsTown's Managing Editor and feature Minor League writer. He can be reached at Mark@TigsTown.com.