Followers of the Worcester Red Sox no doubt have heard of Joe Jacques, a reliever on the team this season. The right-hander hails from Shrewsbury, New Jersey, but played his collegiate career at none other than Manhattan College. From there, he went on to be drafted in the 33rd round of the MLB Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates. After an impressive Triple-A stint with Indianapolis, Joe was picked up in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft by the Red Sox.
As Brian Abraham, Red Sox Minor League director, put it, “He has very interesting pitch characteristics. We felt there were some areas we could work with him on—command of the strike zone, his stuff. We felt like we could get him over here and make some small adjustments and allow him to be a success.”
In his two games of work so far at Worcester-based Polar Park, it seems Joe is keeping up his end of the bargain. He hopes to see his parents in the stands when the WooSox play against the Columbus Clippers when they return home.
Joe’s college career could be seen as a success. He did not plan to reach professional baseball in his collegiate days and went to Manhattan College on a “whim”. Still, his natural talent and chance to fill the role of starter in his fifth and final year at college against first-round pick Logan Gilbert no doubt put him on the map. He was one of 28 Manhattan alums to play Major League Baseball with Chuck Schilling being the most prominent.
Manhattan College, located in the Bronx, is unique in most in its own right. It has been nicknamed the Jaspers after the impactful Brother Jasper, a major figure on campus in the 1800s. In fact, it was Brother Jasper who invented the seventh-inning stretch. Such can be thought of the next time Polar Park slams into the seventh inning.
Joe Jacques is an intriguing prospect worth following this season and he proves that there are still sleepers out there, and a lot of baseball being played all around the world. With the help of the Red Sox team, we can assuredly look forward to great things from the New Jersey native.