The SF Giants made an adjustment to their bullpen heading into the second half of the season, purchasing the contract of right-handed pitcher Jay Jackson from Triple-A and adding him to their MLB roster. The Giants signed Jackson as a free agent earlier this year, and he has dominated in the minor leagues since returning from a preseason hamstring injury. In fact, our own Jeff Young pondered if Jackson would soon be promoted to the big leagues.
Jackson has made eight appearances for the Sacramento River Cats this season. Across 11 innings pitched, the righty has allowed three hits, one walk, and no runs while striking out 18 of the 37 batters he has faced. Needless to say, Jackson has not had much time in the minors in 2021, but he has looked as good as possible in that limited sample.
The SF Giants promoted Jay Jackson to their big-league roster.
Once a top starting pitching prospect with the Chicago Cubs, Jackson’s effectiveness stalled in the upper minors. He signed with the San Diego Padres before the 2015 season and moved to the bullpen, where he immediately took a step forward. Between Double-A and Triple-A, he struck out 86 batters in 74.1 innings, walked just 18, and held opponents with a 2.42 ERA. The Padres eventually called him up in September, but he only made four appearances.
Following that success, he joined the Hiroshima Carp of Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan for the next three years. From 2016-2018, Jackson pitched in 181 games, completed 183 innings, struck out 202 batters, walked just 70, and posted a 2.16 ERA. Looking to return stateside, he signed a minor-league deal with the Milwaukee Brewers. He dominated the Pacific Coast League (40.2 IP, 54 K, 10 BB, 1.33 ERA) before he was finally promoted.
With the Brewers, Jackson wasn’t elite (4.45 ERA and 4.66 FIP) and suffered from some inflated walks (5.3 BB/9), but struck out 47 batters in 30.1 innings. His fastball sits in the mid-90s but generates strong movement that helps it miss bats and pairs with a plus slider that generated whiffs on 44% of opposing swings in 2019. In fact, he actually threw his slider more than any other pitch in 2019.
The SF Giants start the second half of their season on Friday and their bullpen will now feature right-handed pitcher Jay Jackson. Jackson will hope to build on his success at Triple-A.