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Player Interviews: Dean Jackson

So first off, thanks very much for sitting down with us and giving us a few minutes of your time.
Absolutely! Very excited to talk with you today.

Where are you at right now, and what have you been doing to get ready for the season?
Right now I’m in Scottsdale, AZ getting ready to head out to wherever the Dbacks choose to send me this year. I spent the majority of the offseason up at Driveline Baseball in Kent, WA training to throw a little harder this year and improve my offspeed pitches.

How has your preparation been different this year than in year’s past?
In year’s past I’ve put almost all my offseason efforts towards throwing harder. This year my preparation has been much more focused on developing individual pitches and then coming up with different ways to have those pitches work off of each other during at bats. Throwing harder is still a large focus of mine, but I’ve realized that having dominant offspeed pitches can make the difference in my career.

Talk about your experience with Rapsodo. Has it given you any insights into your pitching/ any additional tools? What actions were you able to take based on the data you’ve seen?
Up at Driveline they have a Rapsodo unit and I was using it multiple times a week to make adjustments to my main pitches (fastball and curveball) as well as play around with other potential pitches (changeup, splitter, slider). Having the ability to get immediate feedback on the gyroscopic spin percentage of each pitch made tweaking and developing pitches exponentially easier. I now view my fastball as a weapon (even though it averages 90-91 mph) because of the adjustments to the spin axis that ended up giving it significantly above average vertical rise. I was also able to improve my curveball spin axis percentage from roughly 60% to 85-90%, giving it much more vertical drop. The decision to add another pitch or not was made very simple because I could just compare my spin rates and velocities of each pitch I was trying to whatever elite in the MLB for that pitch was in 2016. If the spin rates and velocities were not even close, I knew that it probably wasn’t worth giving a lot of effort to developing the pitch. If the spin rates and velocities were close, to me it was worth putting in more time with the Rapsodo to get the spin axis correct. That strategy helped me to develop an above average splitter. The bottom line is, Rapsodo made it possible for me to quantify how good each pitch I threw was, and that’s extremely valuable to any pitcher trying to improve their pitches.

What are your goals for the season?
My goal for this season is to dominate. I started off hot last season and ended up on the mid season all-star team for our league, but I lost the feel for my stuff near the end of the year. I’m very excited to be able to get constant feedback from each bullpen in an effort to do well all year long.

Well, thanks very much for your time. Good luck this year, and keep us posted on your progress!
No problem at all! And thank you very much, I will!