Butch Wynegar, the Yankees’ Triple-A hitting coach, said that he expects [Austin] Jackson to be a legitimate big league hitter. But he did not disagree with Carter and other critics of Jackson’s swing.
“He still is raw, still has a lot to learn, but he’s an intelligent kid and a good athlete — and he wants to learn,” Wynegar said. “I basically told the Yankees at the end of the year, if they were thinking about him being their center fielder this coming year (2010), I didn’t know if he was ready yet.
“But I know he has a bright future. There are just some things he needs to iron out yet and incorporate to be successful.”
Wynegar does not disagree with Carter that Jackson’s front-loaded swing can be a hindrance. It is also a relatively new development. He had a kick-step start in his earlier years that Reggie Jackson, the great slugger who now works in the Yankees front office, persuaded him to ditch a couple of years ago.
He also tends to drop his left shoulder, which is another reason why he hits for little power.
“But I love his athleticism and his coachability. He’s a great kid, very personable, and he’s excited about coming to Detroit,” Wynegar said.
This ties into what I saw in the recent print edition of Baseball America, in the Yankees organization report, where it mentioned Jackson:
To fulfill the contracts of Curtis Granderson, Nick Johnson and Javier Vazquez, the Yankees owe them a combined $43 million.
So to believe that New York’s key offseason additions didn’t come with a financial price tag is misguided. However, two of those three were acquired in trades that didn’t devastate a minor league system more notable for depth than impact talent.
Sure, center fielder Austin Jackson, who was dealt to the Tigers in a three-team deal with the Diamondbacks that delivered Granderson to the Bronx, hit .300 in Triple-A. Evaluators inside the organization, however, weren’t sure what type of big leaguer the 22-year-old would become.
Jackson’s supporters believed he could be ready by mid-2010 at the earliest—but his power is in question after he connected for just four homers in 132 games.
Of course, some guys learn to hit with power at the big league level – like Don Mattingly and Kirby Puckett. It’s something that can be taught and learned…assuming it’s the right teacher and student. Time will tell on Jackson. And, the Yankees, obviosuly, didn’t want to wait…or, couldn’t?