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.
The Tigers aggressively assigned Jacobson to West Michigan for his professional debut, and he certainly lived up to expectations. Working exclusively in relief, Brett saw action in 21 games for the ‘Caps, totaling 29 2/3 innings of work. Over that span he allowed only 26 hits and five walks, while striking out 31. His 1.52 ERA and 1.04 WHIP both support the notion that he was utterly dominant for the Whitecaps down the stretch.
Brett can consistently work at 94-95 in the bullpen with excellent movement and explosive late life. He can add sink to his ball and still keep it in the 90-92 range, resulting in increased ground balls. He has struggled with command within the zone in the past, but some minor tweaks since turning pro have enabled him to more consistently throw strikes low in the zone and work to both sides of the plate. As he builds arm strength under a pro workout regimen, some scouts feel he could add another tick or two to his velocity.
Jacobson has tightened up his breaking ball, making it more of a true slider that can be devastating when on. He gets good two-plane break on the pitch and he has routinely kept it down in the zone. Brett rounds out his arsenal with an average change-up that has good sink and comes out looking very similar to his fastball. He has to work on maintaining his arm speed with the change, but that should come with experience.
Though some scouts feel Jacobson could succeed as a professional starter, the Tigers seem inclined to keep him in the bullpen where his three pitch mix, deceptive delivery, and nasty streak on the mound could all play very well in a high-leverage role at the end of games. Jacobson is an aggressive pitcher with excellent makeup, and he could fly through the system.
Performance Level Team W-L ERA G GS SV SO BB IP AVG A
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.
All indications point towards Jacobson starting the year in the Lakeland bullpen and he could move quickly from there. He took well to some minor tweaks the organization suggested last fall, and one scout I spoke with felt he was in line for an outstanding season at the back end of games. If the Tigers find that the slug of relievers drafted last summer are all progressing nicely, Jacobson and his three-pitch mix could get another chance in the rotation, but that seems unlikely at this time.
Mark Anderson is TigsTown's Managing Editor and feature Minor League writer. He can be reached at Mark@TigsTown.com.