While Jeffers had a very solid junior season at UNC-Wilmington, including leading his conference with 16 homers, he largely flew under the radar as the 2018 Draft approached, not even landing on MLB Pipeline’s Top 200 Draft prospects list. The Twins liked what they saw and took him in the second round, much earlier than most other teams would have considered him. So far, the catcher has repaid their faith in him, reaching Double-A in his first full season of pro ball and looking like the organization’s catcher of the future.
At 6-foot-4, 230 pounds, Jeffers is a big and physical backstop. A combination of plate discipline and juice in his bat has allowed him to get to his power as a pro more consistently than some thought he would as he was entering the Draft. It’s more strength than bat speed and he’s likely to always be a bit more power over hit, but he doesn’t strike out a ton and draws some walks. One of the best in the system in terms of driving the ball in the air, his selectivity should allow him to continue to get to that power.
Jeffers has made even more progress on the other side of the game. He’s always had excellent pure arm strength; it plays more as average even though he has quickened his release to help him throw out over 26 percent of potential basestealers in his first year plus as a pro. The Twins feel he’s become an elite receiver and framer behind the plate. His plus makeup provides confidence that he’ll maximize his tools and become a big league regular, possibly faster than anyone would have anticipated.
Scouting grades: Hit: 45 | Power: 55 | Run: 30 | Arm: 55 | Field: 50 | Overall: 50
Jeffers hit 26 homers as UNC-Wilmington's catcher during his sophomore and junior seasons, leading the Colonial Athletic Association with 16 in 2018. That led to the Twins taking him in the second round, ahead of where most of the industry had him, thinking those offensive skills would translate. If his pro debut is any indication, the Twins were right as Jeffers dominated the Appalachian League to earn a promotion to full-season Cedar Rapids, where he capped off a successful first summer of pro ball by hitting two postseason homers.
A big, strong backstop, Jeffers is definitely a power over hit kind of offensive performer, though his solid approach at the plate allowed him to tap into that power consistently during his debut. If he can continue to manage the strike zone, he could have plus game power when all is said and done. There were questions about Jeffers' ability to stick behind the plate, but the Twins were pleased with his receiving skills and think his blocking will be fine as well, with an arm that plays a tick above average.
A physics major at UNC-Wilmington, Jeffers gets high marks for his intelligence and his makeup. He might be a backup when all is said and done, but don't be shocked to see him as a power-hitting leader behind the plate on a daily basis in the big leagues.
Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 45 | Run: 40 | Arm: 55 | Field: 45 | Overall: 45
A starter for two years behind the plate for UNC-Wilmington, Jeffers was a very consistent hitter, both for average and double-digit home run power. That combination, with the possibility of staying behind the plate, was enough for the Twins to nab him in the second round of the 2018 Draft, signing him for a below pick value bonus of $800,000.
Jeffers profiles as an offensive-minded backstop at the next level. He's shown he can hit, with the chance to continue hitting for average, and the power showed up the last two years in college, though amateur scouts weren't convinced he'd have over-the-fence pop as a professional. A below-average runner, Jeffers isn't overly athletic behind the plate and his receiving skills are fringy, though he does have a solid average to a tick above-average arm.
If Jeffers can't stick behind the plate, he'd have to move to first, which puts more pressure on his bat. He'll be given every opportunity to catch in the Twins' system and he got off to a very good start during his pro debut in the rookie-level Appalachian League.