JOE JACQUES, LEFT HANDED PITCHER
|Born: March 11, 1995
Height: 6′ 4″
Drafted: 33rd Round, 984th Overall, 2018
How Acquired: Draft
College: Manhattan College
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
|The Pirates drafted Jacques as a fifth year senior from Manhattan College, where he was a walk-on and earned a starting job as a freshman. After that season he dropped down to throwing sidearm and got better results, with a 3.13 ERA on a team that had a 5.57 mark. He returned to a higher arm slot for his junior year and regressed, then hurt his back and redshirted a year. As a fifth-year senior in 2018, and back to throwing sidearm, he had a 2.61 ERA in 38 innings, with a 38:12 K:BB ratio. He cut down on his walks in each of his last two years, while improving his strikeout rate to 9.0 per nine innings in 2018. He did miss some time with a lat injury. Jacques throws two- and four-seam fastballs that sit in the upper-80s. His out pitch is a sweeping slider, and he also throws a change and is adding a cutter.
Except for one late-season game with Morgantown, Jacques pitched out of the Bristol bullpen. He had a large platoon split, which makes sense for a sidearm lefty: he allowed a .625 OPS to left-handed hitters and .819 to right-handed hitters. Jacques had a rough time early, with a 17.47 ERA in his first five outings. In his last dozen outings with Bristol, his ERA was 2.30. Walks were a problem throughout.
Jacques started the season at Greensboro, but moved up to Bradenton at the end of May. He pitched mostly in multi-inning outings, going as long as four a couple times. He also made one appearance in Altoona at the end of the year. Jacques was generally effective and got more so after the early season, mainly because he cut down on the walks. He was equally effective overall against hitters from both sides, the one difference being that he had more trouble with walks against left-handed hitters but they had little success driving the ball against him. He allowed a line of 185/349/215 to left-handed hitters and 208/285/289 to right-handed hitters. He didn’t strike out a lot of hitters, resulting in xFIPs that were much higher than his ERA at both Greensboro (4.59) and Bradenton (3.50). It’s possible, though, that for a pitcher with a low sidearm delivery, K rate might not have quite the same predictive value that it normally does.
Jacques made great progress in 2019. It’ll be interesting to see how the Pirates handle him going forward, particularly if the platoon split resurfaces. The Pirates have uniformly refused to employ pitchers as lefty specialists in the past, including Javier Lopez, another sidearm thrower. Of course, the three-batter minimum rule won’t help him.