LA Angels Top Prospect Countdown #27: Jake Jewell

Apr 15, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; A general view of a baseball on the field prior to a game between the Los Angeles Angels and the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 15, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; A general view of a baseball on the field prior to a game between the Los Angeles Angels and the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports /
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The LA Angels have one of the worst farm systems in baseball. However, they have a good mix of prospects who will help soon and some with star potential down the road. In this series, we will evaluate each of the Angels Top 30 prospects. Today, it’s pitcher Jake Jewell.

The LA Angels drafted the right-handed Jake Jewell in the fifth round of the 2014 Amateur Draft. Jewell pitched at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College. The junior college product pitched almost exclusively as a relief pitcher. Over two seasons, he threw a total of 73 innings. He owned a 4.32 ERA. However, he hurled his way to a 2.61 ERA in his second season when he strictly came out of the bullpen.

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The Angels strongly believe in Jewell as a starting pitcher. They have been grooming him accordingly. In his first season with the organization, it looked like they were on the right track with Jewell. In 12 games, he owned a 3.59 primarily as a starting pitcher. He only gave up one home run, as he showed excellent control of his sinker. He was able to consistently get ground ball outs, and even struck out 35 batters, using primarily his sinker and changeup as strikeout pitches.

His next two seasons were not great. In 2015 and 2016, he digressed. He threw his way to a 4.77 ERA in 2015 and then a 6.31 ERA in 2016. He split half of his time in 2015 as a starter and the other half in relief. As a starter, he had a 4.99 ERA while pitching his way to a 4.39 ERA out of the bullpen. While both numbers are not encouraging, it appeared obvious Jewell performs better out of the bullpen.

However, Jewell was off to a solid start in 2017 as a starter. After a disastrous trip to Double-A last year, he started this year in Single-A Advanced. He owned a 2.25 ERA through three starts this season. He had also been walking less batters and striking out more, with 15 strikeouts and three walks on the year. Jewell’s best start came on April 15, when he threw seven shutout innings of two hit ball.He struck out eight batters and walked none. 

These starts warranted a promotion back to Double-A, where Jewell is not doing well. In his first appearance, he threw five innings out of the bullpen and allowed five runs (three earned) on six hits. He struck out five and allowed three free bases (two walks and a hit batter). However, his last start was his worst this season. He only lasted three innings, giving up seven runs on six hits (two long balls) while walking three and striking out one lone batter.

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Jewell continues to falter against higher level competition. However, he has shown throughout his professional career that he has big-league stuff. Jewell just needs to get over this hump, and a permanent move to the bullpen might be what makes that possible. If the Angels hope to use him a starter, it could be awhile before his debut. However, 2019 seems like the year Jewell could be playing in the Big A.