LAKELAND, Fla. — Jackson Jobe walked into the video room.
He was greeted by Detroit Tigers director of pitching Gabe Ribas, upper-levels pitching coordinator Steve Smith, lower-levels pitching coordinator Stephanos Stroop and assistant pitching coordinator Jorge Cordova.
“The new guys here have a lot of knowledge,” Jobe said Wednesday.
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Before digging into the video and analytics, Jobe worked out in the weight room. And before that, the 19-year-old stood on the mound. It seemed like the entire organization watched as Jobe — the No. 3 overall pick in 2021 — pitched against live hitters for the first time in his professional career.
That’s when Jobe allowed the first home run of his life.
Manuel Sequera, a 19-year-old shortstop and right-handed hitter, deposited a high-and-tight pitch over the left-field fence. Jobe had retired 23-year-old Andre Lipcius and 18-year-old Cristian Santana, but then Sequera spoiled his show.
“Everything felt great,” Jobe said after his 15-pitch performance. “Fastball, I need to work on a little bit of the shape and the efficiency. We just talked to some of the pitching guys about it. Besides that, overall command needs to improve.”
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Inside the video room, Jobe dissected all 15 pitches.
As a senior for Heritage Hall High in Oklahoma City, Jobe finished 9-0 with a 0.13 ERA, five walks and 122 strikeouts over 51⅔ innings. Wednesday’s meeting, led by Ribas, was the first time he evaluated each pitch from one of his outings.
Jobe watched the film and reviewed TrackMan data.
“I learned a lot today,” Jobe said. “With my fastball, I think that’s my only con right now. My slider feels great. My changeup feels really good. I worked on that a lot in the offseason. Just fastball shape, I’m going to start hammering out with Gabe and those guys. But velocity feels good. Arm is really healthy.”
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To help Jobe clean up his fastball, the Tigers’ player development staffers gave him a Club K Baseball Spin Right Spinner, which is like the Clean Fuego but has a leather cover and feels like a baseball.
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This tool has the same stitch pattern as a traditional baseball, as well as the accurate weight, but it’s shaped like a hockey puck. In Jobe’s case, he needs to make a slight adjustment to his wrist to stay on top of the ball when throwing his fastball. The Club K Spinner forces a pitcher to learn the proper overhand throwing mechanics.
“My fastball has a tendency to run right back into the barrel (of the bat),” Jobe said. “It’s kind of flat, honestly, at times. So I’m trying to stay more through (the ball) and be more efficient with that spin. I’m going to start using (the Club K) during my catch play. The goal is to throw it and have it spin perfectly. When you throw a bad one, it’ll wobble.”
As for the home run, Jobe wishes he hadn’t allowed it.
But the top prospect isn’t frustrated.
The first homer is simply a product of the development process.
“I’m definitely a perfectionist,” Jobe said. “I hold myself to a pretty high standard, but at the same time, I understand things like that happen. I’m young, and I got a long way to go.”
Contact Evan Petzold at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.