• Austin Jackson: Prospect Or Suspect?

    Posted by on August 5th, 2009 · Comments (19)

    Here are Austin Jackson’s Triple-A stats this season, broken down by month:

    MONTH	AVG   G	  AB	2B  3B	HR  RBI	 BB  SO	 OBP  SLG
    April	.371  16  62	2    2	0    10	  8  17	.444 .468
    May	.339  30 109	7    1	0    13	 12  30	.419 .422
    June	.269  26 104	8    1	3     6	  5  27	.309 .452
    July	.258  25  89	3    1	1    11	 10  18	.324 .348
    August	.278   5  18	0    1	0     4	  0   3	.316 .389
    

    As you can see, since a hot start, Jackson has been a .265 hitter since June 1st. Is he just tired? Or, did the league catch up to him?

    What’s most concerning about Jackson, to me, are his BB/SO and AB/SO ratios. His low BB/SO ratio tells me that he’s yet to master the strike zone. And, his AB/SO ratio tells me that he whiffs a lot – which you could tolerate if he hit for power and/or drew walks. (At least, that’s what the fans of Nick Swisher tell me.) But, Jackson doesn’t walk much and has not shown homerun power (to date). What I fear the most is that his high SO rate suggests that he has some holes in his swing – and, if true, major league pitchers will have a field day taking advantage of those holes. (Think: Bernard Gilkey .)

    Granted, Austin Jackson is just 22-years old. If he had elected to stay in school, he would be a senior in college right now instead of playing in Triple-A. So, you have to factor that in as well…and maybe he needs another two seasons at Triple-A before we see what he can really do?

    In any event, what do you think of Austin Jackson? Is he a true blue-chip prospect as the Yankees say, or, is he just a good athlete who will never be a solid, everyday, major league player?

    Comments on Austin Jackson: Prospect Or Suspect?

    1. Corey
      August 5th, 2009 | 10:08 am

      ah Bernard Gilkey…that’s a name I havn’t heard in a while… I used to like him when he was on the Mets. I’m not all that high on Austin Jackson, and I believe this is one of the cases where “yankee fans overvalue their prospectS”

    2. Corey
      August 5th, 2009 | 10:09 am

      i should also note that this is not to say he won’t go on to have a fine career, I’m just saying that maybe he isn’t the superstar everyone thinks he’ll be.

    3. bfriley76
      August 5th, 2009 | 10:18 am

      In any event, what do you think of Austin Jackson? Is he a true blue-chip prospect as the Yankees say, or, is he just a good athlete who will never be a solid, everyday, major league player?
      ====

      Can he be somewhere in the middle? I’ve read some unbiased talent evaluations that project him as a valuable everyday player, but probably not a superstar. I’d love him to be a superstar, but I wouldn’t complain if he “only” turns into a valuable everyday player.

    4. August 5th, 2009 | 10:24 am

      @ bfriley76: But, if he turns out to be the next “Juan Rivera” will we, as Yankees fans, be kicking ourselves for all the times Cashman made him an “untouchable”?

    5. YankCrank
      August 5th, 2009 | 10:29 am

      The hype around Austin is overblown, to be honest. He’s exactly what his numbers show, which is a young kid with a great amount of talent who certainly isn’t developed enough to reach the majors yet.

      I also think it’s unfair to make a blind statement in projecting if he’ll be a superstar, an average every-day player or a bust. We just don’t know yet. What we do know is he’s an incredible athlete, he jumped through the system fast and most importantly, he still has a long way to go. I for one will be calming my expectations and hoping that in the next year or two, the power and patience develops in his game.

    6. Tcarda4
      August 5th, 2009 | 10:31 am

      @ Steve Lombardi:
      I dont think hes ever been an untouchable, unless you wanted to trade him for Washburn.

    7. MJ
      August 5th, 2009 | 10:31 am

      I think it’s probably a touch too soon to evaluate AJax. I recall reading many comparisons to Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen where both players were rated as athletes and not necessarily baseball players. So far, McCutchen seems to fit in just fine in the bigs. If AJax is a watered-down version of McCutchen, that wouldn’t be so bad.

    8. YankCrank
      August 5th, 2009 | 10:33 am

      @ bfriley76: But, if he turns out to be the next “Juan Rivera” will we, as Yankees fans, be kicking ourselves for all the times Cashman made him an “untouchable”?
      —–

      Steve, how many times has he been untouchable in a trade scenario? The only one I know of was this year with Washburn, but maybe you can fill me in if there were more that were public.

    9. Raf
      August 5th, 2009 | 10:56 am

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      But, if he turns out to be the next “Juan Rivera” will we, as Yankees fans, be kicking ourselves for all the times Cashman made him an “untouchable”?

      No, for all we know, being “untouchable” could be a negotiating ploy. Having said that, I wouldn’t trade Juan Rivera for Washburn.

    10. August 5th, 2009 | 11:06 am

      @ YankCrank:Well, I figure since all the reports, in the past, of the Yankees looking for a stop-gap CF (like Mike Cameron) until Jackson was ready to play in CF, and the reports that suggested the Yankees might go with Melky and/or Gardner, and hope they’re OK, until Jackson was ready to play in CF, meant that the Yankees are (were?) booking on Austin Jackson as being their future CF and therefore was an untouchable in a trade…implied, of course…until recently where he got the official label of untouchable.

    11. August 5th, 2009 | 11:07 am

      Raf wrote:

      Having said that, I wouldn’t trade Juan Rivera for Washburn.

      Would you trade him and Nick Johnson for Javier Vazquez? ;-)

    12. Corey
      August 5th, 2009 | 11:12 am

      Would you trade him and Nick Johnson for Javier Vazquez? ;-)
      =========
      even though he’s in the NL east facing line ups like the Mets and Nats, Javy is having a career year.

    13. bfriley76
      August 5th, 2009 | 11:12 am

      @ Steve Lombardi:
      I’d take Juan Rivera, who, when healthy (an admittedly big variable), has been a valuable asset to the Angels.

      I’ll echo the sentiments above that I don’t remember him being untouchable other than the Washburn trade (though I may be forgetting something), and I wouldn’t have traded him for Washburn anyway. (An aside…anyone see his Washburn’s numbers from last night? YUCK!)

    14. Raf
      August 5th, 2009 | 11:20 am

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      Raf wrote:
      Having said that, I wouldn’t trade Juan Rivera for Washburn.
      Would you trade him and Nick Johnson for Javier Vazquez?

      Yep :)

    15. Evan3457
      August 5th, 2009 | 11:31 am

      Well, now I have to root like heck for Austin Jackson to make it with the Yanks, or be traded for someone more valuable than Jarrod Washburn, I guess.

    16. Tcarda4
      August 5th, 2009 | 11:49 am

      @ MJ:
      McCutcheon looks like the real deal, id love for Jackson to be this type of player. Interesting comparison, i never read or heard that before.

    17. MJ
      August 5th, 2009 | 1:42 pm

      Tcarda4 wrote:

      @ MJ:
      McCutcheon looks like the real deal, id love for Jackson to be this type of player. Interesting comparison, i never read or heard that before.

      The two were compared to eachother over the past couple of seasons. I think most scouts felt like McCutchen was a bit more advanced and had more of the upside but that they had similar skill-sets in terms of speed, good OF defense, and not much ML power.

    18. August 5th, 2009 | 4:11 pm

      [...] Watching takes a look at Austin Jackson’s season thus far, and wonders if AJax is as major-league ready as Yankee fans want to [...]

    19. December 8th, 2009 | 8:54 pm

      [...] here was Austin Jackson – their best position playing Triple-A prospect. Now, back in August, I asked this question about “A-Jax”: Is he a true blue-chip prospect as the Yankees say, or, is he just a [...]

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