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Legends On Deck

LOD’s 2018 Prospects: Los Angeles Dodgers – Shortstop

During the 2017-2018 offseason, we here at LOD are putting together a different kind of prospect list than you’re used to seeing. As opposed to typical prospect rankings, we are going position by position to give you the names to look out for in each organization in the upcoming season. You can view previous articles in this series here: Pitcher, Catcher, First Base, Second Base, Third Base

Today we turn our attention to baseball’s premiere infield position, shortstop. The Dodgers are fortunate enough to call Corey Seager their starting shortstop, but the organizational talent at the position goes deeper than just the big league roster. Here is our pick for the shortstop to watch in the 2018 Dodgers farm system.

Shortstop – Drew Jackson – 2017 Teams: AZL Dodgers (Rookie), Rancho Cucamonga (Advanced-A), Tulsa (Double-A)

2017 Statistics: .247/.358/.402, .761 OPS, 9 HR, 44 RBI, 21 SB

After three seasons at Stanford, Drew Jackson was selected in the fifth round of the 2015 draft by the Seattle Mariners. You wouldn’t be able to tell from his draft position, but Jackson saw his fair share of struggles during his time with the Cardinal. During his first two collegiate seasons, the 6’2 200 pound shortstop hit .207, then .167 with just six combined extra base hits. Despite the challenges he faced at the plate against his Pac-12 foes, he was still a highly regarded player thanks to his reputation as one of the best defenders in college baseball.

Fast Forward to 2015, and Jackson put it all together. He bounced back to lead the Cardinal in batting average during his Junior season as he hit .320 with eight extra base hits and nine RBI, both of which were better than his first two seasons combined. The most impressive feat is despite the fact that Jackson turned all of his attention to improving at the plate, his glove never faltered.

Jackson tore up the Northwest League in 2015 and carried the momentum he had at the plate in college over to short-season ball. Over 59 games Jackson slashed .358/.432/.447 while stealing 47 bases and striking out just 35 times. He also popped two home runs after never hitting one in college. When it was all said and done, Jackson had earned 2015 Northwest League MVP honors.

The Mariners decided to challenge Jackson a little more in 2016 as he spent his first full season with Advanced-A Bakersfield. The struggles at the plate began to creep back as Jackson posted an OPS of just .678 over 124 games in the California League.
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2017 wasn’t a breakout season for Jackson offensively, but he did show some signs of improvement while spending time at three different levels. His slugging percentage improved by 57 points and he hit a career high nine home runs. The swing has improved as Jackson is better at staying back on the ball. He has made a conscious effort to elevate his swing and as a result the power is coming. The traditional stats were down in 2017 due to the changes in his swing, but those should improve after he gets more familiar with the adjustments.

On the defensive side, Jackson has the skill set to be one of the top shortstops in the game, even as he progresses through the system. He has a sure glove coupled with a very strong arm and the range to make some plays most shortstops can’t make. Speed is another huge part of Jackson’s game and he utilizes it well both in the field and on the bases.

It is rare that you get a guy in the lower levels of the minors that you know has the stuff to stick at shortstop for the foreseeable future, but Jackson is that guy. He has three plus tools in his glove, arm, and speed, and now that we are seeing improvements with the bat, Jackson is poised for a great 2018.

Jake Berry
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Jake Berry

Contributing Writer at Legends On Deck®
Jake resides in Carrollton, GA and loves everything baseball. He is a lifelong Atlanta Braves fan and enjoys traveling to watch their Minor League teams. He graduated from the University of West Georgia with a Bachelor's Degree in Sport Management. Jake is also a certified personal trainer and has a passion for fitness and weight lifting. You can find his personal site at berrysbaseball.com

You can also reach out to Jake at jberry@legendsondeck.com
Jake Berry
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