• Wynegar: Austin Jackson Is Not Ready For Prime Time

    Posted by on January 19th, 2010 · Comments (7)

    Via Lynn Henning with a h/t to Craig Calcaterra

    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?

    Comments on Wynegar: Austin Jackson Is Not Ready For Prime Time

    1. clintfsu813
      January 19th, 2010 | 12:43 pm

      So, the Yanks ended up getting a ready MLB Center fielder who is also young and entering his prime in Granderson. Sounds like a good swap to me.

    2. January 19th, 2010 | 12:47 pm

      @ clintfsu813: Is Granderson entering his “prime”, or “in a decline”? Check his OPS the last three seasons:

      Year Age Tm Lg G PA OPS+
      2007 26 DET AL 158 676 135
      2008 27 DET AL 141 629 123
      2009 28 DET AL 160 710 100
      6 Seasons 674 2896 113
      162 Game Avg. 162 696 113
      Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
      Generated 1/19/2010.
    3. Raf
      January 19th, 2010 | 12:53 pm

      To be fair, Mattingly hit a lot of doubles in the minors, which is an indication that he had some sort of power. Puckett was helped playing 1/2 his games in the Metrodome.

    4. clintfsu813
      January 19th, 2010 | 12:53 pm

      @ Steve Lombardi:
      Age wise: Prime. Hopefully he’ll halt that decline where it stands and has a bounceback year.

    5. MJ
      January 19th, 2010 | 12:56 pm

      @ Steve Lombardi:
      I agree that Granderson has some questions to answer in 2010.

      I don’t believe, however, that trading Austin Jackson for Granderson was a bad move, even if Granderson has already peaked and will be merely average over the remaining three years of his contract. At an average of $8.6M a year for the next three years — and coming off a league-average 2009 campaign — he was still worth approximately $15.2M in WAR dollars. Three more years like 2009 and he’s still providing +$6.6M a year in WAR dollars.

    6. Evan3457
      January 19th, 2010 | 11:27 pm

      Yeah, Nick Swisher was “in decline” after 2008, too.

    7. MJ
      January 20th, 2010 | 12:58 am

      Evan3457 wrote:

      Yeah, Nick Swisher was “in decline” after 2008, too.

      To be fair, though, we got Swisher for nothing. If he were truly in decline, the net cost was only a few years of salary. If Granderson is truly in decline, the price was certainly steeper.

      Not disagreeing with you or the overall trade but just pointing out that the Swisher and Granderson “declines” aren’t entirely parallel, given the costs.

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