Get To Know Twins Outfield Prospect Jacob Pearson
Image courtesy of Phrake PhotographyIt’s been an interesting couple of weeks for Jacob Pearson, a native of West Monroe, Louisiana. He’s had a couple of life changes that are exciting. First, the 19-year-old learned that he was no longer a member of the Angels organization and would now be part of the Minnesota Twins organization. Then last weekend, he got engaged to his long-time girlfriend.
Growing up in northeastern Louisiana, there really wasn’t a local major league team for him to follow. He was a fan of the team that people either love or hate.
“When I was a kid, I grew up being a Yankees fan. I grew up watching Derek Jeter. Whenever the Yankees got Alex Rodriguez, I became a die-hard Yankees fan.”
It didn’t take long for Pearson to become a star on the diamond. He hurt a shoulder labrum and had surgery, but he still played for the varsity his freshman year in high school. He was the team’s DH that season, and then he played in the outfield his final three seasons.
It was after that freshman season that he first started hearing from colleges. “I had heard from Mississippi State my freshman year.”
After his sophomore season, he was invited to participate in a Perfect Game event. “I went to Perfect Game just because I got an invite from them. We talked to a guy older than me, and he said you’ve got to go to that. So we went to it, and that’s when he found out we needed to go to stuff like that.”
If you look at his high school stats from his final two seasons in high school, it’s easy to understand why college coaches were interested, and why pro scouts found their way to West Monroe.
As a junior, he hit .479/.596/.873 (1.469) with ten doubles, three triples and four homers. Pearson noted, “We didn’t even think about major league teams until my junior year. I didn’t think that could be a reality until then. Before that, we were strictly talking to colleges.”
As a senior, he hit .551/.620/1.134 (1.755) with ten doubles, six triples and ten home runs. He was named the Gatorade Player of the Year in Louisiana.
The draft was coming up and he was starting to hear from more and more teams. “I was hearing from about 15 teams that were really interested. We were thinking second to third round, so I’d say I went around where I was expecting to go.”
Pearson went to the Angels in the third round, the 85th player taken in the draft. The Angels went above slot, giving Pearson a $1 million signing bonus, to keep him from his commitment to Louisiana State. While playing for LSU is a dream for so many from Louisiana and around the country, Pearson said that the decision wasn’t too hard.
“It was tough at first, but just the idea of playing professional baseball overshadows it. I couldn’t pass it up. I was more than happy to be selected in the draft by the Angels.”
The Twins were very interested in Pearson and contemplated drafting him with the first pick in the third round. Instead, they selected another top high school player from Louisiana, right-handed pitcher Blayne Enlow.
“Yeah, we actually played together in a tournament showcase. We both committed to LSU together. We had known each other, and playing against each other in high school, we kind of grew together.”
Pearson struggled some in his pro debut, but that means very little in the long term. Asked what he considers his biggest strength on the field at this time is, Pearson provided a thought-filled response.
“I would say it’s my hit tool .My speed is a bit above average, but I would say it’s my hit, and my gears, my motor. My hitting started rough last professional season, but if you look at how it started and how it finished, it was a lot different. It was all good, and it gave me something to work on this offseason.”
In his first 21 games, he hit .190/.247/.253 (.500). However, in his final 19 games, he hit .263/.356/.316 (.672).
“Just seeing professional pitching from high school pitching, it’s a huge difference. So whenever you go into the offseason, you know what you can work on and what you need to work on. It gave me a list. I was rushing my rookie year, and I was trying to get hits and have a good average. But at the time, I wasn’t focused on the little things. This offseason I’m going to focus on the little things a little more, and I think it’s going to help me next year.”
And then last week, he was suddenly no longer a member of the Angels organization. He was out for dinner with his brother-in-law when his agent called him.
“‘You’ve just been traded to the Twins.’ My heart just kind of stopped. ‘Oh my gosh, are you kidding?’ “No, this is real. The Twins are going to call you any minute now, so just be ready to answer.’”
Moments later, he received a call from the new Twins Minor League Director Jeremy Zoll. “He called and was very excited. He said he had talked to the amateur guys and they were really excited to have me. They had looked at me through my high school years, they just couldn’t make a deal before the draft. He said now they’ve got me, and they’re excited to get spring training started, and to have me in their organization.”
One of the first people that Pearson reached out to was fellow LSU commit and now Twins teammate Blayne Enlow.
“I texted him as soon as it happened, ‘Hey, I just got traded to the Twins.’ He was like, ‘There’s no way!’ So that was cool.“
That’s a lot of information to process in a short time frame. Pearson said it took him a day to have it all sink in. “Once I had time to process it, it was very exciting.”
Pearson has already started researching the Twins organization as he prepares for his 2018 season.
“I’m pretty familiar. I’m familiar enough with the big things, but not the details yet like I was with the Angels. We had classes on everything, and I’d done my research, and right now I’m in the process of doing my research on the Twins and everything they have.”
It’s likely that before spring training starts in early March, he will have an opportunity to go to Ft. Myers. It’ll be good for him to meet more of the players in the Twins organization as well as the coaching staffs. It’ll be good for him to get acclimated into the system.
Based on his interests outside of baseball, he will fit in well when he gets to Minnesota.
“I like hunting and I like fishing, but fishing is during baseball season, so I can’t really do that much anymore. I like deer hunting.” Pearson continues, “I love muscle cars. I don’t get to go out and buy them all, but I like to look at other people’s cars. And right now, I’m working on a building, so I like being handsy and crafty.”
Pearson is an outdoorsman, a do-it-yourselfer, a gamer, known for his work ethic. He’s got plenty of work and development ahead, but he’s certainly a prospect that Twins fans can get excited about.
Jacob Pearson will be one of over 165 Twins prospects profiled in the soon-to-be-released Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook 2018. Check back to Twins Daily in the next couple of weeks to see when it is available.
- Cory Engelhardt, Oldgoat_MN, h2oface and 3 others like this