These are the type of deals I love where we trade for talent on the cheap, develop it, then trade it away for higher upside prospects who could do very well in our developmental program. We acquired De Jong for international slot money. Then, our staff developed him further into a near-MLB-ready arm before dealing him away to a team in need of pitching for a package of prospects that look more promising, especially given our surplus of back-end rotation starters.Dustin Nosler, DodgersDigest.com (3/2/17)
Quake Griffin wrote:what's up with the DeJong trade?
Dodgers Land Drew Jackson and Aneurys Zabala for Chase De Jong in Win-Win DealDavid Hood, TrueBlueLA.com (3/2/17)
As for the Dodgers’ return, well, I like it. A lot. Jackson, 23, has been a low-key favorite of mine since the Mariners drafted him in the fifth round of the 2015 MLB Draft. There are a couple of things he does really well — he runs fast and he plays good defense at shortstop. In his debut season, he showed glimpses of being quite the 5th-round find. He hit .358/.432/.447 with and 11.3 percent walk rate and 47 stolen bases (in 51 attempts). Granted, that was him dominating the Northwest League as a collegiate draftee (took home MVP honors), so those numbers needed to be taken with a large grain of salt.
While I like Jackson, the more intriguing piece of the deal is Zabala. Aside from having an 80-grade name, Zabala also possesses a fastball that has 80-grade velocity. The Mariners signed him out of the Dominican Republic in 2014. He’s armed with a high-90s fastball and a low-80s hammer curveball that some see as at least an average pitch. His command is poor — sometimes very poor. That’s what has plagued him in his brief pro career. One plus is the fact he has allowed just two home runs in 102 1/3 career innings. Granted, that has all come in complex ball (DSL, AZL), but it’s something to keep an eye on. Zabala is strictly a relief prospect at this rate, but the ceiling on him is pretty high.
More on Drew Jackson and Aneurys Zabala, New Dodgers Trade Acquisitions
Jackson’s prospect status is largely buoyed by his defensive skills, where he should be able to stay at shortstop. He isn’t overly smooth and fluid with his movements, but he’s plenty quick and can make any throw. Should the Dodgers want to try him as a utility player, his arm strength should carry over to center field, where his plus speed should also be an asset.
As a hitter, Jackson lacks the power his athletic 6’2, 200 lb.-frame would suggest. His offensive game is derived too much on putting the ball on the ground and legging out hits. He has shown some swing improvements from his Stanford video, but his mechanics are a little stiff and slow. He’s already 23, so a complete swing tear down may be tough to complete at this point, but Jackson’s offensive game will need to be retooled to see him as a viable major league candidate.
Aneurys Zabala is a greater unknown, having spent two years in the Arizona Rookie League as a hard-throwing reliever. Zabala looks much larger than his listed 6’2, 175 lbs. and he delivers high-90s fastballs with little effort. Zabala’s arm action is long and his slot and release point will waver from pitch to pitch. Zabala’s curveball shows promise, but given the inconsistencies in his delivery, it doesn’t always appear sharp on video. He’s only twenty, and given his stuff, he will have a greater margin of error as he develops, but at this point, he remains a raw arm.
Jackson rates as the Dodgers’ 29th-best prospect, with Zabala checking in at 50th.