Joe Jacques: From the Bronx to Boston

Manhattan College Alum Joe Jacques was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the Rule 5 draft. GOJASPERS.COM/ COURTESY

By: Isaiah Rosario, Asst. Sports Editor

Joe Jacques ‘18, a walk-on Manhattan College baseball alum, has been drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the Rule 5 draft. 

The Rule 5 draft allows baseball teams that do not have a 40-man roster to select specific players from other teams. 

Jacques took The Quadrangle through the moment he got drafted by the Red Sox. 

“I was at home and following the MLB Draft tracker, as well as listening to the teams announce each pick,” Jacques wrote. “At that time there were 40 rounds in the draft, so it took hours each of the three days. I was unsure if I was going to be picked based on conversations I had with scouts that day. I ended up shutting my laptop after the 32nd round because it was getting too stressful at that point. Of course, I was picked in the 33rd round. I was more emotional than I have ever been in my life. To this day, that is one of the most special moments in my life.”

Jacques’ journey to the MLB was not an easy one, as he was not highly recruited out of high school, or coming to college to play baseball. 

Former head coach of the Jaspers, Jim Duffy, spoke to The Quadrangle about Jacques’ journey to collegiate ball. 

“He took a leap of faith coming to Manhattan College,” Duffy said. “One of the really big parts of Joe Jacques’ story is that he wasn’t highly recruited even to come. I have to admit, I didn’t go out and recruit Joe Jacques and watch him pitch in high school.” 

Despite not actively recruiting Jacques, Duffy knew of Jacques because of his location. 

“I knew who he was, I knew where he was from and his high school,” Duffy said. “He went to Red Bank Regional High School, which is fairly close to where I live…I think I saw him pitch once.”

Playing baseball at Manhattan is something that Jacques had on his mind since the day he stepped foot on campus.

“[Jacques] showed up at the baseball office the first day of class when he was a freshman at Manhattan. He enrolled at Manhattan College as an accounting major on his own and showed up and said, ‘My name is Joe Jacques. I want to try out for the baseball team.’ I told him, hey, I know who you are and I’m thrilled that you’re here and he went through the tryout process… and he makes the team as a freshman.”

Jacques took Manhattan by storm in his first year with the Jaspers as he started on the mound for game two of the MAAC tournament in the Jaspers’ biggest game of the year. Although that was a major moment in his first year, it was difficult for Jacques to pick one moment during his time with the Jaspers to label his favorite moment. After some thought, Jacques labeled it down to one moment. 

“That’s tough because my years in Manhattan were some of the best years of my life,” Jacques wrote in an email. “Personally, a moment I look back on often is when we beat Monmouth in the MAAC playoffs my junior year. I grew up in Monmouth County, right in their backyard, and never received any interest from them. I ended up pitching the best game of my career that day.  It felt good being able to stick it to them and show them what they could have had.”

Being drafted into the league means a lot of players as they finally get the chance to prove themselves in the major leagues, and it was no different for Jacques. 

“It was something I worked towards every day, so it was a very surreal accomplishment to achieve,” Jacques wrote. “Beginning my journey as a true walk-on at Manhattan and turning into becoming a draft pick, made it just that much more meaningful.”

Duffy’s reaction was filled with emotions as a player he coached was drafted into such a historic organization. 

“I was just thrilled,” Duffy said. “I was not shocked. I know his potential. I know the type of kid that he is. He’s always been a professional, even in college. He’s always carried himself like a pro. He’s worked like a pro. He’s trained like a pro. That’s where he belongs. So just happy for him and his family. To be honest, I wasn’t overly surprised.”

Support is also rolling in from current head coach David Miller, as he also knows what it is like to be selected in the rule 5 draft. 

“I am very excited for Joe,” Miller said. “Being selected in the Rule Five draft with the Boston Red Sox is an honor that required a lot of hard work and dedication. I didn’t have the pleasure of coaching this young man at Manhattan but look forward to following his career and meeting him soon. As a former Rule Five draft pick myself, I understand what Joe is about to go through over this upcoming spring training and I wish him nothing but the best. The Jaspers are rooting for you”.  

There is no greater feeling for a coach to watch his players succeed in higher levels of their sport. Duffy spoke about what this meant for him. 

“It’s great,” Duffy said. “That’s the best feeling as a collegiate coach, to see the players that have come through your program, and then to go on to higher levels on their own in professional baseball, it’s it’s a proud moment for me and I appreciate what he’s doing because it does have a positive emotional effect on myself and it’s very reflective of the Manhattan program which I’m really happy about.”

Jacques’ professional career started in 2018. Since then Jacques has played in 123 games for multiple clubs, pitched an ERA (earned run average) of 3.71, pitched 182 innings, won 12 games and lost eight and totaled 187 strikeouts.

Jacques goes to the Red Sox intending to be a reliable pitcher for the Red Sox and someone who Alex Cora feels comfortable with in tough situations. 

“The goal is to be able to be a reliable pitcher out of the bullpen, where Alex Cora wants to put the ball in my hand with the game on the line,” Jacques said. “I have prided myself on being dependable throughout my career, and I plan on continuing to do that in Boston.”

Jacques being drafted is not only big for Manhattan but also for the MAAC conference. Jacques and Duffy both spoke on what this means for the MAAC. 

“I think it’s a great reflection of Manhattan College Baseball and is a great reflection of the MAAC conference,” Duffy said. “Sometimes you don’t have to go to a big, huge high-level, power five programs school to attain your goals. The MAAC conference is an extremely competitive baseball conference. With extremely high-level academic institutions. So you can have your cake and eat it too in the MAAC. Joe Jacques is a great example. You can come to earn your degree, do it close to home, get drafted, go on to pro, and have a chance to play in the Major Leagues.”

“The MAAC has gotten a lot more attention and respect over the last few years because of the handful of draft picks it’s had,” Jacques wrote. “It’s always good to be able to represent a smaller conference and help put them on the map more.”

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