Jackson Jobe understands the work ethic and sacrifices it takes to have a successful professional career from watching his father, Brandt, who has been a pro golfer since 1988.
His father has served as a valuable resource for Jobe, even though he is pursuing a professional baseball career. His father has instructed Jobe on the mindset needed to compete and excel at the highest level.
“I think the biggest thing he’s taught me is that no one else is going to get you where you want to be,” Jobe said. “He’s helped me mentally. He also tells me I need to put in the work that no one else is willing to put in, and that is something I’ve taken very seriously over the last few months. I think that’s a big reason why I’m where I’m at right now.”
Jobe’s father’s advice has helped Jobe develop into a sought after pro baseball prospect.
Entering this summer, pro scouts projected Jobe as a primary shortstop. However, that thought has changed as Jobe profiles as a likely pitcher in pro ball after excelling on the summer showcase circuit.
Jobe has athleticism, feel for his four-pitch mix, and intriguing upside. The right-handed pitcher, a senior at Heritage Hall High School in Oklahoma City, projects as a potential first-round pick in July’s MLB draft. He also is a University of Mississippi commit where he will serve as a two-way player, if he makes it to campus next fall.
“It is awesome,” said Jobe on the draft attention. “I know so much about baseball and the business than I did a few months ago. I never thought I would be sitting in this position where there is a possibility that I don’t go to college. My parents are super pro college, so it’s going to be fun to see how this spring plays out. I am just super grateful for everything. It has been an awesome experience.”
Jobe throws a four-seam fastball, slider, changeup, and curveball from a three-quarters arm slot and low-effort delivery. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound righty also has explosive arm speed that allows him to get notable spin on his mid-90s fastball and slider.
His slider is his top offering and draws rave reviews from scouts. His slider has an elite spin rate, as he typically throws the pitch with 3,100-plus revolutions per minute.
Jobe started throwing the slider about a year ago when he moved from Texas to Oklahoma City and started working with his pitching coach, he said. Jobe was not trying to increase the RPMs on his slider, admitting he had “no idea what that meant” at the time. His mid-80s slider’s success came naturally, as he focused on throwing the pitch hard and with quick arm action.
He has refined the pitch over the last year, and it has developed into a quality outpitch.
“My slider is by far my best pitch,” Jobe said. “I think the main thing is my arm speed. When everyone asks how I throw it, it is hard to explain because it moves so fast. The No. 1 thing is just throwing it as hard as you can and the same speed as your fastball that way, it looks the same coming out, and that’s what gives it more spin.”
One person who has asked Jobe to teach him how to throw his slider is Houston Astros right-handed pitcher Lance McCullers.
McCullers commented on a video of Jobe’s slider on Instagram last year, asking Jobe to tell him how he threw it. McCullers also retweeted a video of Jobe throwing his slider on Twitter recently, commenting, “Pass the grip kiiiiiiid. Shii nasty.”
The initial comment caught Jobe by surprise. He didn’t respond to the first comment, but after he saw McCullers retweet the video, he direct messaged him on Twitter, he said. He told McCullers he would show him how he throws his slider, and McCullers responded by saying he would show Jobe his changeup grip.
“It’s unreal and awesome to have someone like that reaching out to me,” Jobe said. “I can’t even explain it. My eyes shot up when I was looking at my phone and saw him commenting on my slider. It’s super cool to have someone at that level wanting to know tips on what you are doing. Hopefully, one day I can meet up with him, and we can talk.”
Jobe has high hopes for his senior season of baseball. He knows it will be a pivotal year as he tries to help his team have a competitive season while also preparing for the next step in his baseball career, whether that’s Ole Miss or the pro ranks.
He also wants to show improvement on the mound throughout his senior year. Jobe plans on spending significant time this offseason on refining his pitches and overall skills on the mound in preparation for his final prep season.
“I am going to keep hammering the changeup,” Jobe said. “I want to be as consistent with the changeup as I am with my fastball and slider. I also want to get stronger. I was never a starter because I was a position player, so I will continue to work on maintaining my velocity throughout the game, which I don’t think will be a super big problem. I am just not used to starting.”
Read more in-depth stories on top 2021 MLB draft prospects here.
Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for six years. He’s interviewed 253 of the top draft prospects in that period, including three No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today, MLB.com and The Arizona Republic, have quoted his work, while he’s appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.