Born: January 29, 1993
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 235
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
Drafted: 31st Round, 945th Overall, 2016
How Acquired: Draft
College: University of Minnesota
Agent: N/A


The Pirates drafted Jess as a fifth year senior.  After struggling mostly as a starter his first three years, he served mainly as the Gophers’ closer for his last two seasons.  As a junior he had a 3.86 ERA and 1.44 WHIP, with 25 strikeouts in 25.2 IP.  As a senior he had a 3.95 ERA and 1.06 WHIP, with 35 strikeouts in 27.1 IP.  Jess had no eligibility left and signed quickly.  Jess thows his fastball 91-92 mph with a high-effort delivery.  He also throws a slow breaking ball.

R+:  2-2-7, 2.55 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 24.2 IP, 2.6 BB/9, 9.9 K/9

Jess was the primary closer at Bristol.  He put up very good walk and K numbers, but opponents hit .274 against him, largely due to a very high .359 BABIP.  All but one of the earned runs he allowed came in two games out of the 17 he pitched.  He had no platoon split.

A:  0-4-2, 2.92 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 49.1 IP, 2.0 BB/9, 10.8 K/9
A+:  0-0-0, 9.24 ERA, 1.82 WHIP, 12.2 IP, 3.6 BB/9, 5.0 K/9

The high BABIP may have convinced the Pirates that Jess was unlucky in 2016, as they moved him up to West Virginia to pitch in relief.  He had good success there, with outstanding walk and K rates.  The Pirates moved him up to Bradenton for August and he had much more trouble there.  For the season he had a large platoon split, with a .597 opponents’ OPS against left-handed hitters and .772 against right-handed hitters.

A+:  4-5-3, 4.71 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 49.2 IP, 2.0 BB/9, 9.8 K/9

Jess returned to Bradenton and had a better season.  The ERA is a little misleading, as he had excellent walk and K rates.  He was hurt by a fairly low strand rate of 62.1% and a slightly high batting average on balls in play of .324, which explains his very good xFIP of 2.83.  He did have trouble with right-handed hitters, who posted a .760 OPS against him.  Left-handed hitters managed only .580.  His stats were hurt by a terrible month of June in which he had an ERA of 11.57.

Jess made good progress in 2018, despite the ERA, and should be in Altoona in 2019.

2019: Minor league contract
Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 2016
MLB Debut:
MiLB FA Eligible: 2022
MLB FA Eligible:
Rule 5 Eligible: 2019
Added to 40-Man:
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
June 11, 2016: Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 31st round, 945th overall pick; signed on June 16.