By Contributing Writer: Chuck Boemmel Jr.
The 28th round of the 2017 MLB Draft saw the Baltimore Orioles take a flyer on a player with a Hall of Fame family history.
Photo: Baby Birdland
The team selected outfielder Zach Jarrett, a 6’ 4” 220 lb. senior out of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. If the name rings a bell, it does so for a reason. Jarrett is the son of Nascar Hall of Famer (2014) Dale Jarrett and the grandson of Nascar Hall of Famer (2011) Ned Jarrett.
Jarrett is strong and shows power as evidenced by his 2017 slash line: .342/ .398/ .549. He had 45 RBI while hitting 8 doubles, 1 triple and 13 homeruns. He drew 18 walks while being hit 8 times and striking out 37 times. Jarrett’s slash line, homerun total and RBI total represent career bests for him.
The 2017 season was one of major improvement for Jarrett as he raised his batting average 94 points, his on base percentage 93 points and his slugging percentage 170 points from his 2016 numbers. He raised his homerun and RBI totals by 9 and 12 respectively as well.
Jarrett’s career as a 49er produced a slash line of .268/ .325/ .421 with 127 RBI, 26 homeruns and 117 runs scored. He showed his “speed” by stealing 12 bases in 14 attempts.
His glove was just as good; Jarrett’s career fielding percentage was .976 with 19 assists and 11 errors.
Ironically enough Jarrett never drove a racecar. Instead he learned to love and play baseball through his maternal grandfather, Jasper Spears, a player in the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodger organization from 1949-1959. The highest level Spears reached was Class-AAA with both the St. Paul Saints and the Montreal Royals (1955-1959).
Baseball has been Jarrett’s passion since the age of 6 and his drafting was a dream come true for the young man as well.
There must be something about UNC Charlotte because the Orioles selected Jarrett’s roommate T. J. Nichting in the 9th round (278th overall) of this year’s draft. Look for some friendly competition from the roommates as both have signed with the club and are currently on the Aberdeen Ironbirds (Class-A Short) roster.
Like Delmarva Shorebirds’ (Class-A Low) DH Preston Palmeiro, look for Jarrett to make a name for himself as his own man rather than be known for just having a famous last name.