April 9th, 2017. Daulton Jefferies made his first start of the season vs Rancho Cucamonga. He went 4.0 IP giving up 0 ER on 2 H with 0 BB and 2K.
Scouting Report Framework
Org/Level: OAK, Hi-A
Originally from Atwater, CA. Jefferies is a unique brand of California Country. Grew up on a family ranch and actually breaks in wild horses. After high school, went to UC Berkeley and was drafted w/ the 37th pick in the 2016 draft. Was orignally thought to be a higher pick but suffered calf and shoulder injuries in final year w/ Cal.
Relentless in approach. Stubborn and determined. Fits the background, Jefferies checks the box on every "bulldog" or "grinder" trope. Really carries himself like the only stud on the field.
Compact, strong body. High waisted with broad shoulders. Sonny Gray with a bit more bulk. Looks the part of a more durable body even given relatively small overall frame.
Athleticism - Good
Moves well. Strong and decisive in actions.
Delivery - Good
Sets up on the 3B side of the rubber with a low and slow leg lift accelerated through to a 3/4 release. Finishes on a stiff front leg but is balanced and under control. Moderate effort at finish, but few moving parts and repeats very well.
Arm Action - Good
Breaks above the waist with a short, tight arm swing to slightly whippy release. No real jerk or snap anywhere in actions.
Deception - Fair
Gets something from the acceleration in his delivery, but it's a familiar-looking package to many batters. As an ex-MLB hitter has told me "the cleaner and smoother it is on the mound, the more comfortable that shit is in the box".
Pitchability/Feel - Excellent
Favorite aspect of Jefferies. Throws 93 at guys like he's Aroldis Chapman. Works the FB up/in to everyone, RH or LH. Even facing a wild, chasing swing/miss batter with power, Jefferies still attacked with an elevated fastball and still struck him out. Has a plan for mixing in secondaries over the course of the outing. Has a pitch-to-soft-contact arsenal. Works quickly and efficiently.
Velo: 92-94, 93 Avg
Movement: Only 4SM seen with some sink to it. Plays even to velo.
Use: Elevates the FB as well as anyone I've seen. Comfortably and confidently works in on the hands to both RH and LH. Throws batters off with his confidence on the inner third of the zone. Excellent control of all quadrants.
Velo: 79-81, 80 avg
Movement: Two different versions, has a 11/5 clean break or a more sweeping 10/4 tilting slurve.
Use: Works into the zone, but has limited impact compared to his other pitches. Will still work it inside to RHH though not as much to LHH. Shows enough control to use as a show-me strike stealer.
Velo: 85-87, 87 avg
Movement: Varying tightness of run, with slight drop.
Use: Saved bullets and employed CHG more often in the 2nd time through the order. Only real weapon breaking away from LHH, pitches it off inside FB. Think CHG is true offspeed pitch and curve is more to show a different look.
Velo: 88-89, 89 avg
Movement: Firm with nice/sudden tilt. Ball almost speeds up out of the hand into its cut action.
Use: Varies from FB in cut but not sink, still significant. Can be setup as a swing/miss pitch off of FB to the right hitter sitting FB. Will work to both sides of the plate with more tilt glove-side. Bread/butter for groundballs.
Biggest carrying tool of Jefferies' is strike-throwing with all his pitches. Can hit spots up/down/inside/outside. Excellent control and an approach that rarely leads to walks.
Daulton Jefferies is a confident, aggressive strike thrower seen in Hi-A Stockton. Though none of the stuff is true swing/miss, Jefferies has the ability and approach to work all of his pitches inside or outside, elevated or buried to RH or LHH. Really stood out as unique in his ability to establish his FB up and in on both RH and LHH. With more and more put-the-ball-in-the-air approaches coming out of the batter's box, Jefferies has exactly the profile needed to take advantage of a flyball hitter. The elevated/jamming FB combined with a sharp cutter and CHG at the bottom of the zone should generate soft flyballs and groundballs with the best of them. I see Jefferies as a big league starter with the approach and stuff to have a Mark Buehrle-like career. Think he'll move quickly through the organization and knock on the door next season. The Only question will be durability, but Jefferies looks like he's not forcing the issue as much to get that 99th percentile velocity out of his body. I believe the A's will look at Gray and be sure to develop Jefferies' strength slowly over time. Strong Role 5, #3/#4 starting pitcher.
Role: 5 (Starter)