Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Top 15 Hitters: #8 Jake Jefferies

Jake JefferiesJake Jefferies
6'2'' 200 lbs DOB: 10/30/1987
Catcher
Bats: Left | Throws: Right
2008: Hudson Valley
Acquired: 2008 Draft, Round 3, 78th overall

Jake Jefferies had a bit of a similar profile to Rays' 5th rounder Mike Sheridan: the two were among the toughest college hitters to strike out over the past few seasons. Jefferies struck out just 30 times in 499 at-bats over three seasons as the backstop for UC-Davis.

Jefferies hit .387 his junior year, and carried his good contact skills over to pro ball, hitting .315/.379/.433 in 66 games for the Renegades. He only actually caught in 20 games and was primarily serving as the DH as Mark Thomas got the majority of the starts behind the plate.

A left-handed hitter, Jefferies' best tool is clearly his contact, and he lacks a glaring weakness. He's more of a gap-to-gap hitter than a homerun threat, and while he could develop more power in the future, it could come at the expense of his contact. He'll occasionally chase a bad pitch, but has good control of the strike zone and should continue to draw an average number of walks. Defensively, Jefferies is a nice strong target behind the plate, but he's also an above-average athlete for a catcher and features clean footwork. The one drawback to his defense is arm. His throws can get loopy at times, but the arm should be at least adequate.

The key for Jefferies as he progresses through the system will be keeping up the batting average while providing decent defense. At this point, any real homerun power he develops would have to be considered a bonus. As a 3rd-round pick, it's tough to imagine the Rays limiting him to DH in 2009. Instead, he's likely ticketed for low-A Bowling Green, where he'll catch a talented pitching staff.

9 comments:

  1. Why not put Jefferies in high-A?

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  2. Still working on his footwork and arm strength as a defensive player.

    Plus ... TB has a logjam at catcher in their system with a half-dozen legitimate prospects behind the dish. Don't look for them to draft many (if any) backstops in the 09 draft....

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  3. They may have a half-dozen legitimate prospects behind the dish, but they have him listed as the #8 hitting prospect in the whole organization (only behind 1 other catcher that was in the big leagues at one point).

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  4. This is true ... but keep in mind that "they" is not the Rays organization - it's a handful of hard-working Rays fans who have built and run this site.

    Jake will become a Major League ballplayer, of that there's no doubt. The kid has a lot of talent, and he's an all-round nice guy - very level-headed.

    With Jake, it's not a matter of "if" ... it's a matter of "when".

    I expect to see him in Tampa for a September call-up in 2011.

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  5. ... BBA has Jake listed as the No. 2 catching prospect in the system, and the No. 17 overall prospect in the Rays' farm.

    And he's getting better - as hard as that is to believe....

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  6. I still think the Rays should maybe try for Josh Phegly in the draft and just use jefferies as a DH if he gets more power which he should

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  7. The Rays will have two-four very talented backstops - including Mark Thomas and Tyler Hauschild - at the short-season levels. They won't need to get any catchers with their higher picks.

    It's better for them to shoot for other needs - especially in the power positions, where their current MLB stars are going to start aging/declining in 3-5 years (Pena, Burrell, Crawford). They need to go after solid corner outfielders to complement players like Kang coming up. They need to find a power-hitting first baseman. They need to keep finding pitching gems.

    Catcher, for now, is well-covered. And Jake is one of the big reasons - along with McCormick and Jaso - they won't need to take a backstop for a while.

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  8. is Jefferies injured or something?I havent seen his name in the box score lately.Did he get promoted and I just missed it or something?

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  9. Not sure why he is out except that I've been told that it is an injury and that he is close to returning.

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