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Joe Jacques looks to unique deception

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – With Joe Jacques on the mound for Indianapolis, hitters have a unique challenge.

The 2018 33rd rounder is a tall and wiry left-handed pitcher, who throws from a unique side arm slot. He has been throwing from that slot his entire professional career.

“My junior year of college I switched [to that arm slot],“ Jacques said. “I’ve stayed there since. I was a starter in college. I think that arm slot, when it was not as good of a competition, plays easier. I think that’s why it stuck. I’ve just grown fond of it and it’s been working.“

As expected, deception is a key part of the plan for Jacques.

“They don’t see that [type of deception] often, especially from a lefty,” Jacques said. “It just makes it that much harder for the batter to pick up and that much easier to get outs.“

Though he likes getting anyone retired, Jacques has a special preference of dominating left-handed hitters. Dominance might be putting it lightly. Lefties are just 4-for-35 against Jacques this season. Of the 31 lefties he’s retired, 13 have been via strikeout, for a 37% rate.

“Whenever I see a lefty at the plate, I don’t expect them to get on base,“ Jacques said. “That’s a reason why I’m here. They want me to get them. That’s my job really.”

Light contact has also been a consistent theme for Jacques this season against lefties. He has a .338 OPS against fellow southpaws.

The results haven’t been as strong against right-handers. Jacques has allowed a .308/.400/.477 line against right-handers this year.

Jacques says he is still trying to find an uptick in velocity, to get where he is used to. However, after beginning the year on the injured list and missing the first two months of the season, he’s pleased with the progress.

“I missed a little bit of time at the beginning of the year,” Jacques said. “It’s good to come back and be trusted in important situations. That’s the goal. I feel good now and ready to finish strong.“

Ryan Palencer
Ryan Palencer
Ryan has been following Indianapolis baseball for most of his life, and the Pirates since they became the affiliate in 2005. He began writing for Pirates Prospects in 2013, in a stint that ran through 2016 (with no service time manipulation played in). Ryan rejoined the team in 2022, covering Indianapolis once again. He has covered the Pirates in four different big league stadiums. Ryan was also fortunate enough to cover the 2015 Futures Game in Cincinnati.

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