Versatile ballplayer

He might be heading to Minot State in the fall to pitch for baseball coach Brock Weppler and the Beavers, but that doesn’t mean Chandler Jacob can only play one position.

When he’s not on the mound, Jacob typically roams the outfield in left field, but has spent time at both second base and shortstop this season for the Minot Vistas American Legion team.

“We have a bunch of guys who are pretty versatile for us,” Minot coach Todd Larson said. “We’ve been through a long stretch of games and a lot more ahead of us. Chandler will be asked to do different things and he’s always willing to try something different.”

Jacob played at short in the second game of a doubleheader against Fargo, making three putouts two fly outs and a fielder’s choice. He’s appeared at second base for 14 innings over three games with four putouts.

At the plate, Jacob finds a way to get on base, even if it’s not by hitting the baseball. He’s had a keen eye in the batter’s box, recording a walk in seven of his first eight games. In the season opener against Grand Forks, Jacob walked in all three of his plate appearances.

But Jacob wasn’t recruited by the Beavers for his fielding or hitting, rather for his pitching, which Jacob believes to be his biggest strength. He officially signed with the Beavers on May 7. Playing at the collegiate level was his dream growing up.

“It’s a fun sport to play,” Jacob said. “I played it since I was younger and my dad taught me how to play it the right way and I just enjoy going to the ballpark and playing. It’s pretty cool to sign the papers and the sheer enjoyment of knowing I’m going to play baseball for another four years.”

Jacob is 0-1 in two starts this season entering Minot’s doubleheader against Moorhead, Minn., on Thursday. The right-hander took the loss in his first appearance, allowing two runs on two hits over six innings, striking out three and walking six in a 2-0 decision to West Fargo.

Of his three go-to pitches, Jacob said his curveball is his strongest. He’d like to improve his changeup and focus on throwing more strikes and being more consistent. It doesn’t matter if that’s by striking out more hitters or letting the defense make plays behind him.

“I get a lot of strikeouts sometimes,” Jacob said. “Some days you get a lot of strikeouts and certain days you pitch to contact and get a lot of outs that aren’t strikeouts.”

Larson has enjoyed his time coaching Jacob, saying he’s known the Minot High graduate “since he was a little guy.” He’s excited to see what Jacob will do at the collegiate level, but is glad to have him for one final summer.

“It’s been a pleasure watching him develop as a baseball player and as an adult,” Larson said. “We’re looking for him to be our leader on the mound this summer.”

Mike Kraft covers the Minot Vistas and racing during the summer. Follow him on Twitter @MKraft24-MDN.