Astros get a real student of the game to open Day 2

Third-round pick Jake Bloss stays as dedicated to his studies as he is to throwing a baseball

July 11th, 2023

HOUSTON -- His grandfather attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. His uncle rowed while attending the Naval Academy. His great uncle played football for the Air Force Academy. Jake Bloss decided to take a different route, though still very challenging -- majoring in economics and mathematics at Lafayette College while pursuing a baseball career.

Bloss earned his degree from Lafayette and watched his classmates enter the real world well-equipped for success. He played baseball for three years at Lafayette and he had eligibility remaining, so he transferred to Georgetown University and pursued a master’s degree.

Bloss also blossomed into one of college baseball’s top pitching prospects. The Astros selected him in the third round of the MLB Draft on Monday afternoon with the 99th overall pick.

“My advisor called me on the 94th pick or something, and said, ‘Astros want to take you here? Does that work?’” Bloss said. “And I was like, ‘That works.’ And then four minutes later, whatever, you're getting to see your name on the TV. So it's pretty cool.”

Bloss, a 6-foot-3 right-hander, made 11 starts for Georgetown in the spring, and he logged 68 strikeouts in 58 innings, with a 3.57 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP. He was a first-team All-Patriot League selection and is the highest Draft pick in Georgetown program history.

“The strides he made this year in Georgetown definitely jumped off the page,” Astros scouting director Kris Gross said. “He’s physical, athletic, his fastball is up to 97 [mph]. He threw a lot of strikes, and we really like the pitch mix he works with and think he can be a presence and work through the Minor Leagues fast.”

At Georgetown, Bloss said he cleaned up his mechanics, which helped the fastball tick up. He started locating his offspeed pitches last fall, sharpening the slider and the overhand curve, giving him three pitches that he could throw at any point. He’s touched 98 mph on the radar gun.

“And it's also kind of just something that naturally happens as you keep working. As you get bigger, stronger, put on a couple pounds, you can throw the ball are a little harder, spin it a little better,” Bloss said.

Georgetown coach Edwin Thompson called him a “great kid” who always has a smile on his face.

“Just a great human being,” Thompson said. “He’s a great teammate. The guys love him, and he really established himself as a really good player. But some guys have to have the ‘Look at me,’ and he was just a very down to earth, well-mannered young person, you know?

"He’s very humble, a lot of humility in his life. He has a very quirky personality, funny personality.”

Bloss grew up in North Carolina, but he spent some of his childhood in Colorado as a Rockies fan, which he admitted isn’t easy. He’s done his homework on the Astros, though. He knows all about Houston’s reputation for developing pitchers -- every inning thrown by a Houston starting pitcher this season has been from homegrown players -- and he’s ready to delve into analytics.

Remember, Bloss majored in math and economics.

“Yeah, I'm excited to get hooked up to all that stuff,” he said. “The only thing I've been on is Rapsodo. We had that at both schools I was at, but at Georgetown, we kind of really delved into what everything means with fastball spin efficiency, breaking ball spin rates, that kind of stuff.

"It definitely helps. I like it a lot, because you can kind of tell if a pitch is good without a hitter. Obviously, if you’re spinning at 3,000-plus [rpm] and you're hitting your spot with it, it's probably a good pitch.”

Bloss said his parents have pushed his academics, though they understood his dreams. His father is a lawyer and his mother does public relations for an academic company. That’s why Bloss plans to finish the two-year finance master’s program at Georgetown in the coming months, but a promising baseball career awaits.

“I've always been kind of pro baseball or bust,” he said. “My parents have always said, 'You have to have a Plan B,' and I obviously look up to them a lot. I grinded academics and baseball. Baseball has always been my dream, my Plan A, but they made sure I had a Plan B.

"So yeah, I guess most people that did my program at Georgetown go into some kind of investment banking. I guess that's what I would have gone into, but I’m much happier throwing the rock, I'll tell you that.”