This is one in a series of stories breaking down members of the Pittsburgh Pirates 40-man roster.
The Pittsburgh Pirates acquired Andre Jackson from the Los Angeles Dodgers at the end of June, and it’s a good thing they did.
The 27-year-old was originally drafted by the Dodgers in the 12th round of the 2017 draft out of the University of Utah. Jackson climbed the ranks and emerged as one of the Dodgers’ top 30 prospects.
Jackson ended up providing the Pirates with valuable innings down the stretch, both as a starting pitcher and a bulk reliever.
Once Jackson was acquired by the Pirates, he was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis. After a little over a month with the Indians, the Pirates recalled the right-hander to the big league roster at the beginning of August.
Jackson ended up making 12 appearances at the big league level, seven of which were starts. He totaled 43.2 innings pitched and finished his first stint with the Pirates at 1-3 with a 4.33 ERA. Jackson limited opponents to a mere .194 batting average against.
His lone win with the Pirates was the first of his major league career. It came on Aug. 30 after he worked 5.2 masterful innings against the Royals in Kansas City. In that game, Jackson struck out a career-high seven batters. Five of those strikeouts were consecutive and they came against the first five batters he faced. Jackson became the first Pirates’ pitcher since Bruce Kison in 1979 to accomplish that feat.
The Pirates heavily relied on Jackson to help navigate a short-handed starting rotation during the final few weeks of the season. Although he was a bit up and down, Jackson showed flashes of being an effective pitcher.
Heading into next season, it’s entirely possible that the Pirates stretch Jackson out as a starter during spring training. As it currently stands, the Pirates rotation has two solidified spots in Mitch Keller and the recently-acquired Marco Gonzales.
While it’s safe to assume the Pirates will add at least one more starting pitcher this winter, there will be some competition for the final spot or two in the rotation. The arms vying for a rotation spot project to be Jackson, Bailey Falter, Roansy Contreras, Luis Ortiz and Quinn Priester.
Even if Jackson doesn’t break camp with the Pirates as a starting pitcher, he could be an option for the bullpen in a long relief role.
Regardless of his role, Jackson presents the Pittsburgh Pirates with what proved to be reliability. His versatility to pitch in either role makes him compelling.