Very few players have been drafted from JSerra Catholic High, but Gage Jump will add to the school’s total in 2021. The school in San Juan Capistrano, California has only produced a handful of draftees over the past few years and only Austin Hedges has made the majors thus far. However, it has some exciting alumni in the minor leagues including the Minnesota Twins‘ Royce Lewis. Jump’s talent will only improve the small school’s stature when the amateur draft takes place this month.
Gage Jump Draft Profile
Jump is a left-handed pitcher that falls on the smaller side of player body types. He is 5’10” or 5’11” and between 175 and 180 pounds depending on if you are looking him up on either MLB.com or Baseball America. MLB has him as the 43rd-ranked player, while BA places him 58th in their most recent top 500. He is talented enough to fall in the second or third round of the draft, but he is also committed to UCLA.
Jump’s pitching looks very good if you can get past his smaller frame. MLB’s scouting rates both his curveball and slider as 55s out of 80. His fastball comes in at a 50 for now, but that grade could improve based on increasing velocity over the past year; he has often sat around 92 mph, but has gotten into the mid-90s more consistently lately. A lefty with good velocity and multiple quality pitches should always have a job in baseball if his control doesn’t collapse. Both MLB and BA have Jump’s control around 50-55. That is fine for someone who is still just 18 years old.
The problem is that smaller pitchers just do not have extensive records as starters. Not being 6’0″ or taller can often push a pitcher into relief. Being a reliever wouldn’t be ideal for Jump, but it is far too early to worry. His future role won’t be apparent until he pitches for a few years either in college or the low minors.
Only 12 pitchers appeared in the major leagues who are listed at 5’10” or 5’11”. The best comparison of those dozen might be Baltimore Orioles pitcher Keegan Akin. That is based on their mix of pitches, but Akin is probably heavier at 235 pounds than Jump will be as he ages. Akin has not had a good career with just -.3 WAR and a 6.35 ERA in 66 2/3 innings, but he was a second round pick in 2016. However, much of that is Baltimore’s overall struggles as it rebuilds. His peripherals are actually very fine and result in a 4.54 FIP. Akin would be a decent comparison as Jump’s future floor.
Another possible comp is Justus Sheffield of the Seattle Mariners. Like Akin, his raw 5.10 ERA in 166 innings for a struggling franchise isn’t great, but a 4.62 FIP reflects some bad luck for the former 31st overall selection. He would be good to ponder as Jump’s ceiling considering his pedigree.
The problem with projecting comparisons for Jump is that high school pitching is so volatile. Injuries and unpredictable development make it borderline impossible to say anything with any degree of certainty. The California prep hurler has some very exciting qualities, but it will be years before we can say anything concrete about his professional prospects.
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