Pitching Precision: Valley’s Jackson Sanders hits the road for Prospect Development Pipeline

Published 8:46 am Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Jackson Sanders will be hitting the road this summer to keep improving as one of the best prospects in baseball. 

Sanders will be traveling to North Carolina on June 25 to work with top coaches and scouts for the Prospect Development Pipeline. 

“I’m really just trying to work on my craft and become the best pitcher I can be,” Sanders said. “Just fine tuning every pitch I have whether it’s the fastball, curveball, or changeup. Just trying to develop and be the best pitcher there is.”

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Jackson Sanders has been rated as the top baseball prospect in the state of Alabama for the past three years. Sanders is currently committed to play for the Auburn Tigers after he graduates in 2024. 

As of now, Sanders is still planning on continuing his education despite the possibility of being drafted. 

“That’s still the plan right now,” Sanders said. “I want to go out there and get a degree and have all that for sure. We’ll see as time comes, but for right now, I think Auburn is the move. Time will definitely tell on that stuff.” 

The left-handed pitcher from Valley High School throws his four-seam fastball in the mid to low 90s. Sanders is currently working with a five pitch mix. 

In an era of baseball where most pitchers are trying to hit triple digits, Sanders is choosing to focus on his pitch placement. 

“I’m not really emphasizing the velo part as much as most guys probably are,” Sanders said. “I know the velo will come. The pitcher’s job is to get outs and you know the velo, it helps get outs, but it’s not the whole factor.” 

Sanders believes that his pitch mix and placement will help to set him apart from some of the other pitching prospects. 

“I feel like most guys are just trying to work or focus on the velo as a pitcher, which I have the velo, but I feel like most guys don’t have the pitch ability I have,” Sanders said. 

Sanders believes that he can locate any of his five pitches for a strike when he needs to. Locating that many pitches is a nightmare for any hitter at the plate. 

Scouts and coaches believe that his fastball will continue to gain velocity and he could be an elite lefty pitcher. Sanders has a Perfect Game rating of 10, which is the highest possible grade under Perfect Game’s rating system. 

This will not be the first event like this for Sanders by any means. He currently has over 30 events recorded by Perfect Game. 

There have always been high expectations for Sanders. However, no scout could have higher expectations for Sanders than he has for himself. 

“I want to be the best pitcher there,” Sanders said. “That’s always my expectation to be the best pitcher and athlete there.” 

The PDP League is an exciting opportunity for Sanders because it puts him with high level coaches as well as like-minded athletes. 

“It’s a great experience because the coaches there, almost all of them are MLB experienced,” Sanders said. 

For Valley High School, Sanders pitches and plays center field. This summer, Sanders plans to focus just on the pitching aspect of his game. 

Sanders said because the travel team he will be playing with has so many bats, he gets the opportunity to just be a pitcher. 

One of the hardest things to battle for high-level prospects in any sport is juggling academics while trying to make it to the next level. 

“You have to put things in proportion,” Sanders said. “You definitely can’t go out and do all the normal high school things. You have to have a clear mind and focus on what you’re trying to achieve and have goals for sure.”