The Giants continued a busy offseason on January 9, as San Francisco’s front office inked RHP Luke Jackson to a two-year contract. The right-hander spent all of season on the IL, but when Jackson returns, he could be yet layer of insurance for a Giants bullpen that has been among the better ones in all of MLB over the last two seasons.
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A Look at Jackson
Former Braves RHP Luke Jackson will head to San Francisco after a five-year stint with the Braves. Jackson missed all of 2022 due to an elbow injury, but it’s not hard to see why San Francisco moved to give the right-hander a multi-year deal.
Jackson — who carries a career 4.24 ERA — was excellent for the Braves in Atlanta’s run to the World Series in 2021. Jackson struck out 70 over 63.2 IP that season with the Braves, along with a 1.98 ERA. The 31-year-old had an interesting run in the playoffs that year, but did pitch 3.1 scoreless innings against the Astros.
Before the injury, the right-hander’s arsenal included a curveball, a hard fastball that sits in the mid-90’s, and an above-average slider that induced a fair chunk of swings and misses. Batters in 2021 hit just .198 off the slider, as Jackson recorded a 35.1% Whiff rate from it.
Control and command, however, has been Jackson’s biggest issue in his career. Despite the quality stuff, the right-hander holds a below-average BB% rate for his career.
Jackson underwent Tommy John surgery back in April 2022 and is not expected to be ready for the start of 2023. Provided that his rehab goes well, the new Giants right-hander could see his first action in the Bay Area this season.
What it Means
Assuming that Jackson will get back to action at some point this upcoming season, the right-hander will join a Giants bullpen that already boasts power and deception. Here’s an overview of how the Giants bullpen shakes out entering 2023:
- LHP Scott Alexander
- LHP Sam Long
- LHP Taylor Rogers
- RHP Tyler Rogers
- RHP John Brebbia
- RHP Camilo Doval
- RHP Sean Hjelle
- RHP Luke Jackson
We should also note that San Francisco also acquired left-handed pitching prospect Erik Miller from the Phillies earlier on January 9. Miller could also factor in at some point come this season.
That group of eight, as well as starter/long-man options Jakob Junis and Alex Wood, should form a solid and deep bullpen. Fellow new Giant reliever Taylor Rogers has proven to beat hitters throughout his career, as has veteran RHP John Brebbia. Not to mention, San Francisco also rosters two of the games’ most deceptive relievers in RHPs Tyler Rogers and Camilo Doval. The primary late-inning option for the Giants last season, Doval recorded a fantastic 2.53 ERA and 10.6 K/9 en route to 27 saves.
San Francisco’s bullpen has been a strength in recent years. Even though the Giants did lose two valuable arms to free agency in Dominic Leone and Jarlín García, San Francisco should be just fine in the pen this upcoming season.