Daulton Jefferies expected to make Oakland A’s debut on Saturday
By David Hill
Oakland A’s prospect Daulton Jefferies is set to make his major league debut on Saturday as he will start one of the doubleheaders.
If the Oakland A’s needed another starter, Daulton Jefferies was the next man up. He had emerged as one of their top pitching prospects, although he was lost in the shuffle due to injuries and the presence of Jesus Luzardo and A.J. Puk. Nonetheless, Jefferies has established himself as a legitimate pitching prospect as well.
His time has now come. According to reports, he will be making his major league debut on Saturday when he starts one of the A’s doubleheaders.
This appearance has been a long time coming. Jefferies was considered the type of prospect that could rocket through the A’s system, but his shoulder issues in college required a cautious approach. Instead, Tommy John surgery cost Jefferies all but three outings between 2017 and 2018, pushing him off the top prospect map.
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But Jefferies came back in a major way in 2019. He made his way to AA last season, dominating along the way. In his 79 innings over 26 appearances, 15 of which were starts, he posted a 3.42 ERA and a 1.087 WHiP. Considering that he had just nine innings in the previous two seasons combined, those were solid numbers.
But that is not what makes Jefferies such an intriguing prospect. That can best be summed up by his strikeout to walk rate – in those 79 innings, he struck out 93 batters while issuing just nine walks. Considering command is typically the last thing to return following TJS, those numbers were even more impressive.
That command is easily Jefferies’ best attribute. He has a low 90s fastball that plays up due to his command and an excellent change. That changeup fades at the end, making it a devastating pitch. The biggest question is whether or not he has a good enough breaking ball that can work as a third offering, as that has been the sore spot in his arsenal. Jefferies has tried different grips and pitches, but has not found anything that has worked for him yet.
If he can find that third offering, Daulton Jefferies has the potential to surprise a lot of people. He will get his first chance to do so for the Oakland A’s on Saturday.