Jun 18, 2013; San Jose, CA, USA; Myrtle Beach Pelicans pitcher Luke Jackson (7) during the first inning of the California League vs Carolina League All Star Game at San Jose Municipal Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Luke Jackson is a 22 year old righty with electric stuff out of Fort Lauderdale Florida. Drafted in the supplemental round 45th overall by the Rangers in 2010, it took a substantial bonus to lure the young pitcher away from college. The Rangers gave the 6′ 2″ 185 pound pitcher a $1.545 million dollars to sign with them.
In 2011 Luke Jackson made his professional debut with the Hickory Crawdads in the South Atlantic League where he put up a 5.64 ERA in 19 starts. His next year was an improvement. Luke split his starts evenly at 13 a piece between Hickory and Myrtle Beach and put up a combined ERA of 4.65. Those seasons were chump change to what Luke Jackson did in his breakout 2013 campaign. In Myrtle Beach to start the season Jackson had 19 starts with 101 innings and 104 K’s. He had a 2.41 ERA in those starts which earned him a late season promotion to AA Frisco. In his 6 games in Frisco he put together a startlingly impressive 2 runs in 27 innings with 30 strike outs. He also only allowed 13 hits, 12 walks, and not a single homer in Frisco.
His impressive 2013 campaign earned him the Nolan Ryan award for the Rangers minor league pitcher of the year. Luke Jackson has the highest ceiling of any of the pitchers at the upper levels of the Rangers system. His fastball has some nice life on it and can reach up to 97 mph with it. The main concern with Luke is his command. He does have solid command most outings but some scouts have not been impressed with his consistency in his command.
Overall he has the stuff to be a number 2 or 3 starter at the big league level, but he still has a ways to go before he can actualize that potential. He might get some big league innings at the end of 2014 much like Martin Perez in 2012, but he probably won’t be competing for a starting role on the big club for about a year.
Scouting grades: fastball: 65 curveball: 60 Slider: 45 Changeup: 50 Control: 45