School: University of California; Class: Junior
Position: RHP; B/T: L/R
Height: 6-0; Weight: 180
Previously Drafted: Miami Marlins, 39th round, 2013
Background: The slight-framed right-hander’s stock had been steadily improving since the Marlins grabbed him in the 39th round coming out of high school. Jefferies paced the Golden Bears in innings pitched as a true freshman, averaging under six punch outs per nine innings with strong control/command.
He followed that up with an even better sophomore season in 2015 as his strikeout rate jumped nearly per inning with a sub-2.0 walk rate. Jefferies also split his summer pitching with the Wareham Gatemen in the Cape and dominating for Team USA (where he would post a 12-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 14.0 innings, the second most used pitcher for Team USA).
Needless to say, Jefferies seemed poised for big things heading into 2016.
And he was delivering on that promise…until a right calf strain interrupted his season.
Through his first eight starts, the 6-foot, 180-pound right-hander has tallied an impeccable 53-to-8 strikeout-to-walk ratio while allowing just six earned runs. Ironically enough, he’s served up four long balls.
Projection: Another one of the better arms in this year’s draft class, Jefferies has a long history of above-average control and he’s strikeout rates have been borderline spectacular the last two seasons. The lone question surrounding Jefferies will be whether he – and his small frame – can withstand grabbing the ball every fifth day. If he can, he looks like a #3-type arm.
Ceiling: 2.0- to 2.5-win player
Floor: 1.0-win player
Grade: First Round