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Unlikely breakout suddenly has non-drafted Rees on Blue Jays' radar

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – In the weeks leading up to the 2018 MLB Draft, interested teams reached out to Jackson Rees, then a pitcher at the University of Hawaii. Rees was having what he describes as a ‘decent’ year. Nothing spectacular, but a 3.86 ERA against Division I competition was respectable enough.

Every time teams called, they’d ask if Rees would take a lowball offer. His answer never varied.

“I was like ‘yes, yes, yes, yes,’” he recalls.

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At 23 years old, the right-hander was eager for the challenge of professional baseball, yet round after round went by and he remained on the board.

“This might not happen,” he worried. By the end of the 40th round that thought had become reality.

Disappointed, Rees weighed his options. He still wanted to play, and had a year of eligibility remaining because of the two junior college seasons he missed due to injury. At the same time, he was nearly 24 years old. Would teams be any more eager to draft him when he was even older? Maybe he could get his masters in communications while he played. He’d need to make some money, too.

“Probably some sort of small job,” he says. “A desk job at a gym or something so I could work out.”

After the draft, though, an opportunity arose. The Blue Jays........

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