Alex Jackson: 80 out of 80 Swing
Sports Illustrated goes inside the Astros, and we get that nugget


As part of a much bigger piece on the Houston total rebuild, Sports Illustrated got access to the Astro draft room.  Alex Jackson was one of the final four guys under consideration, and we have the SI report of what was said.

Part of it: his swing graded at 80 out of 80.  And his chances of joining a club with only 44 members.

Full article here.



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Full article here.

Home page here.


M's Watcher's picture

It's nice confirmation of how highly others thought of Jackson, and how fortunate we were to have him fall to us. I can't help but think about our other recent high draft pick hitters. Deej was a top college bat at 3B, and only three other college bats picked ahead of him. Only Bryant, picked at #2 that draft is a power bat. Zunino was the top college bat (also with power) and a premier catcher. Ackley was the college player of the decade (1990s), but only showed power in his last year in college. It seems the Mariners' focus has shifted from just high BA hitters like Ack, to ones with more projectable power. It makes me wonder if Ack is a closer fit to the Figgins mold, than a Boggs or Gwynn, and it is hard for me to understand his struggles.


As I said on your site, Jim, I don't see a RH hitter coming to the Safe and going .300 / 30 bombs on us, but if it did happen with Jackson I would be completely ecstatic.  He can do .270/ 20-25 and I'll be jumping for joy.
The first few games of Morgan and Jackson are interesting. 
Morgan: 3 games, 1-for-7 (1 single), 6 BB / 3 K in 13 PAs
Jackson: 3 games, 3-for-13, (2 singles, 1 triple), 1 BB / 6 K in 14 PAs
I'm not surprised that Jackson is down there hacking and looking to put wood on the ball.  That's to be expected, especially after a layoff.
Morgan's patience is somewhat surprising to me.  He too had a long-ish layoff as a prep player but he's strolling to first A LOT at the moment while he gets his batting eye in order.  If that kid can walk while he puts his swing together I'm gonna be really impressed.


Which makes sense: if there IS a power hitter available, then in an era with great pitching performances, defensive shifts, detailed hit charting and fewer PEDs you probably DO want to find the plus hitters who can crush pitches.
Bryant can crush em. Springer. Gallo.   There are dudes in the minors who can absolutely hit em out, but they stand out because most people are struggling to do that consistently now.  Paul Goldschmidt and Pedro Alvarez led the NL with 36 homers last year.  That's the lowest total to lead a league since 1992... AKA basically the tail end of the pre-roid years.
If we're going back to the 80s when it comes to power, a time when from 80-92 there were 2 years in the NL with HR champs that hit more than 40 bombs, and two years in the AL where they hit more than 43, then 30+ HR is LEGIT. Not average, or expected, but legit bomber type power. From 1993-2009, for instance, the NL had just 2 years with a champ UNDER 46 HRs - and they were the strike-shortened years of 1994-95.
You'd like a hitter or two who can break out of that low-power dynamic, and you'd like to stock up on some defense-OBP-and-speed dudes, as well as some high-average, all-fields hitters to defeat the increased shifting.
The idea is to have guys like DJ and Choi be the high-average hitters (even tho both guys also have some pop), and Wilson / Morgan be the 450-foot-bomb crushers, and Jackson be both (if everything breaks right).  But you give yourself as many shots at getting those guys as you can, and then fill in around them with the Joneses and Cousinos and the like.
Zunino's raw power is great.  When he grows into being a hitter instead of just a clubber he'll be even better.  I did not think Seager would be a 25 HR slugger but he's certainly shaping up that way, which is a HUGE bonus for us.  Him turning into Longoria is everything I could have hoped for.
Ackley SHOULD have been a high-average hitter with a nice lot of doubles and a couple HRs a month.  His struggles baffle me.  I know he's gonna find a hitting coach who can get him to do one thing different and he'll become far more productive at the plate... but it'll be somewhere else.  It's just time to accept that and cut our losses.  But for the rest?  The Ms are stock-piling power-hitting righties, for the most part, with the idea that they're rare now and getting rarer (see Jim's other posts on this subject).  As long as a couple of them break through we'll look like geniuses.
Let's hope we look like geniuses, and not Drafters-Of-More-Ackleys.

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