After taking the big lefty A.J Puck in the first round, Oakland followed by taking the 6-foot right-hander from UC Berkeley with their lottery round pick. Despite suffering from shoulder and calf injuries Jefferies was dominant when he was on the field, going 7-0 with a 1.08 ERA in seven starts.
The Atwater product returned from a two-month absence to make two starts over the Bears’ finals two series’ of the season, tossing a combined eight scoreless innings. Head coach David Esquer told SF Gate’s Connor Letourneau that the overpowering return proved his draft worth:
“There would always be that doubt if he wasn’t able to come back and show his arm strength. He showed that, and he did that. He was 94 miles per hour both times out, and he looked healthy. I think that was absolutely necessary.”
In three seasons at Cal Jefferies went 13-13 with a 2.86 ERA over 36 appearances (35 starts), he finished logging 212-1/3 innings.
His performance improved in each of the three seasons, as his ERA went from 3.45 in his freshman season before dropping to 2.92 his sophomore year and culminating with a 1.09 as a junior. The 21 year-old’s strikeout numbers also climbed, going from 5.76 per nine innings as a freshman to 8.37 in his second campaign.
Over his 50 innings in 2016, Jeffereis compiled 53 strike outs while walking just eight. His 6.63-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio is comparable to that of Cleveland Indians starter Josh Tomlin (6.43), who is 8-1.
Jefferies uses a mid-90s fastball and plus slider-changeup combination to pile the strikeouts, according to MLB.com, which also calls him a good defender as he is a former shortstop.
“Perfect Game” calls the Jefferies the No. 10 pitcher available in the draft.
He was previously selected by the Miami Marlins in the 39th round of the 2013 draft, but decided to attend college instead.