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 Minor League News & Autograph Blog Home

Top Prospect Alert - Joe Jester

By Schuyler Dombroske

DOB: 7/17/78, Age: 23, Height: 5’10’’, Weight: 180, Bats: R, Throws: R. Acquired: Giants - Drafted in the 7th Round of the 1999 Draft (U. of Arkansas).  2000 Stats: (High-A - San Jose) .263 AVG, 429 AB, 13 2B, 4 3B, 8 HR, 24 SB, 69 BB, 75 K, .382 OBP, .368 SLG; (AAA - Fresno) .200 AVG, 15 AB, 1 2B, 2 BB, 4 K, .294 OBP, .267 SLG. 2001 Stats: (High-A - San Jose) .254 BA, 295 AB, 17 2B, 2 3B, 7 HR, 20 SB, 35 BB, 77 K, .333 OBP, .397 SLG; (AA - Shreveport) .320 BA, 150 AB, 14 2B, 2 3B, 6 HR, 4 SB, 12 BB, 33 K, .370 OBP, .560 SLG.
   Joe Jester is one of the more promising positional prospects currently occupying a slot in the Giants farm system. Jester, a college shortstop at Arkansas, was converted to second base by the Giants early in 2000, and has progressed steadily up the ladder during his time with San Francisco. He would best be described as a “solid” player, with no particular tool jumping out at you. He does have reasonable speed, but not blinding speed, and that might be his most advanced offensive tool. He will hit for a decent average, making a reasonable amount of contact for this day and age, and his power seems to be coming around nicely (I would also term it average, with the potential to become slightly above). Obviously, as a college shortstop, he has the arm to play second. His range is also more than adequate, and is already an above average second baseman. In fact, coupled with his prior experience at short, this part of Jester’s game is the most likely to earn him big-league time. However, my favorite part of Jester’s game in 2000 was his patience. His walk rate had was in the 1:7 AB range, which is certainly enough to have a positive impact when added to the remainder of his skill set. This past year, however, it dropped down to the 1:10.5 AB range, which is not a positive sign, especially beginning the year repeating a level. At AA, where nearly half of his hits went for extra bases, the rate dropped even further. This is a trait that Jester will need to rejuvenate to continue to succeed in the long run, so it certainly bears watching early this year. All of these “average to above” skills, tools, abilities, and traits added together make it rather likely that Jester will be a major leaguer at some point, although not necessarily in a starting role.
   With Jeff Kent and Rich Aurilia inhabiting Pac Bell Park under the current rendition of the Giants roster, there is not a lot of room for a middling major-league talent like Joe Jester. Therefore, Jester will continue to move slowly, with his eyes on breaking into a utility infield position with the Giants. Another event occurred this off-season that will certainly have an impact on Joe’s further progress through the minors. Joe’s father Fred, a consistent source of insight and reassurance for Joe throughout his baseball career, passed away in a boating accident in December. The entire TPA staff passes on their condolences to the Jester family, and we will all be rooting for Joe to succeed this year despite this tragic loss. Joe has already begun his season with a return to Shreveport, and I would imagine that he will last through the All-Star break in the Texas League. He will likely move up to Fresno, success permitting, later in the year, with a chance of earning a reserve spot with the Giants in 2003. Jester reminds me a bit of Russ Johnson, who is the type of player that is a reserve on a decent team, and a starter on a not-so-decent one. Jester could have seven to ten years of that in store for him starting in mid 2003-early 2004, if he is able to persevere during this difficult time in his life. I, for one, will be pulling for him.


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