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South Side Sox Top Prospect No. 88: Ernesto Jaquez

A big-armed righty, plucked from Houston this winter

Meet your new Thyago Vieira, fans: Houston Astros product Ernesto Jaquez.
Asheville Tourists

Ernesto Jaquez

Right-Handed Starting Pitcher
190 pounds
Age: 23
2022 High Level Asheville (High-A)
Age relative to high level 0.0 years
SSS rank among all right-handed starting pitchers in the system 20
Overall 2022 regular season stats 21 games (13 starts) ⚾️ 76 1⁄3 IP ⚾️ 6.13 ERA ⚾️ 1.546 WHIP ⚾️ 76 K ⚾️ 47 BB

Ernesto Jaquez was signed as an international free agent by the Houston Astros on July 2, 2017, for $95,000. After three seasons in Houston’s system, including one year lost to injury and another to pandemic, the White Sox picked up Jaquez in the first round of the minor league Rule 5 draft on Dec. 7, 2022. There aren’t any roster restrictions for players selected in the minor league portion of the draft, so the Sox temporarily assigned him to Charlotte.

After his signing in 2017, Jaquez started in the DSL, and five years later has made it just to High-A. His overall stat line in 68 games is 10-4 with a 4.61 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP in 183 1⁄3 innings, which, at first glance, looks fairly decent. His K/9 is outstanding (10.5) and is significantly higher than the 7.56 MLB Top 20th percentile. However, his BB/9 is downright awful (4.91). Clearly, the guy can strike batters OUT! Sadly, it also seems that he walks the yard. So, when he has control, Jaquez is almost unhittable; when he lacks command, it’s a free-for-all.

Jaquez started the 2022 season in Low-A, appearing in four games for the Fayetteville Woodpeckers. On their April 20 game against the Augusta GreenJackets, he entered in the sixth inning and retired 10 in a row, including striking out the side in the ninth inning to end up with 10 strikeouts. He fared well in the handful of games for the Woodpeckers, posting a 2.45 ERA with 29 strikeouts and a 0.927 WHIP in 18 1⁄3 innings. As a result of his solid work with Fayetteville, Jaquez was quickly promoted to the High-A Asheville Tourists.

With the Tourists, Jaquez did get to become part of the first no-hitter in Tourists history:

But from there, Jaquez did not fare as well in Asheville. During his 17 games for the Tourists, he went 3-5 with a 7.29 ERA and a 1.741 WHIP. He struck out 47 batters but walked 49, resulting in a terrible BB/9 of 6.1.

Part of this could have been due to a shift in roles for Jaquez, as after his promotion, and for the first time as a pro, he was relied on primarily as a starter. Eleven of the righty’s 17 games in High-A were starting assignments — yet he also finished two other games. Presumably, the White Sox have a plan for Jaquez going forward — but they haven’t shared it yet. (With the dire need for starters in the system, if Ernesto can take on a heavier innings load, please, please start.)

Jaquez’s Baseball Cube player ratings
Strikeouts 62
Durability 52
vs. Power 44
Hittable 44
K/BB 31
Walks 24
Team Winning Percentage .469

Jaquez was clearly a hunch draft pick, as the pitching coaches in the system see something that can tame this live arm’s wildness. Despite his initial assignment, expect Jaquez to start 2023 at Double-A Birmingham, at best — and if the adjustments he needs to make are significant enough, High-A Winston-Salem or even extended Spring Training back in Arizona.

2023 South Side Sox Top 104 White Sox Prospects

88. Ernesto Jaquez, RHSP
89. Laz Rivera, 3B
90. Xavier Fernández, C
91. Álvaro Agüero, CF
92. Ben Norman, RF
93. Erick Bello, RHRP
94. Adisyn Coffey, RHRP
95. Arnold Prado, RF
96. Alsander Womack, 2B
97. Johan Domínguez, RHSP
98. Evan Skoug, C
99. Noah Owen, RHSP
100. Javier Mora, 2B
101. Will Kincanon, RHRP
102. Yohemy Nolasco, RHSP
103. Billy Seidl, RHRP
104. José Rodulfo, RHRP