Earlier this week, Blue Jays prospect Justin Jackson announced on Twitter that he was making the transition from shortstop to pitcher. A decision that he arrived at after the 2012 season, when he split time between Class-A Dunedin and Double-A New Hampshire. Combined, he hit .220 with 23 RBI, and 38 walks in 110 games.
He knew he had to talk about the idea with a few people, including the big club, but the righty was also certain he was making the right move. Jackson, 25, spoke about this important moment in his career Thursday, and here's what he said.
"What happened was, I looked at it and realized my number one tool was my arm. My agent and me had a talk. And we put it out there to the organization, and they said yes. So then it was just up to me to give it a full go."
On whether high school experienced helped: Definitely. I closed my junior and senior years. I pitched all growing up.
When asked if he had expected to be drafted as a pitcher: No, not at all. I actually used pitching as a showcase for my arm, as a shortstop. I did it so scouts that came to see me would see my arm. (He was drafted in the 45th round in 2007 by the Jays)
On when the idea started to form: I think what I did was look at my skill set, and at the end of the day, I didn't want to be an old man and say I didn't try. I wanted to give myself a chance. And I'm young enough, and am being given opportunities, that I can try it. I didn't want to wind up with regret.
Preparation: I want to be fundamentally sound. I've been working with [former MLB pitcher] Darren Holmes, and he's helping me get ready and just talking to me. I'm also going to go early to spring training. I'll be heading out in the next couple of weeks, so I can throw in warmer weather. It's pretty cold up in the [North Carolina] mountains right now.
On possibly starting again at the bottom: I'm doing something new, and whatever it is I need to do to get that experience on the mound, that's all that matters to me. So [whatever level I start at], I just need to get time on the mound. I don't care, as long as I get experience.
On his independent hip hop single, 'Dedicated': It was actually a Wiz Khalifa song called 'Medicated.' So I changed the words. I wanted to do an uplifting positive type song. I just really like to be creative.
You can follow Justin on Twitter @JaxChillinONE
Listen to 'Dedicated' here: http://m.soundcloud.com/justin-jax/dedicated