At the trade deadline, the Mariners traded Nick Franklin for Austin Jackson. We all shook the fog out of our heads, and wondered how you nab a 3-4 win player for a young benchie who had lost his luster.
SSI maintained that we constantly undersell the value of trade chips like Nick Franklin, Chris Taylor, Brad Miller, Roenis Elias, and their ilk. And GM's aren't immune to the lure of "sexy" UPside -- Nick Franklin is more likely to pull a 3-win player than Chris Taylor is. Still, it was 6 years of Franklin vs. 2 of Austin Jackson, so, shrug.
Just don't forget that, next time you're talking about a 6-year Mariner kiddie against a 2-year player who is a minor star in the big leagues :- )
Jackson's line for the Mariners, in case you'd forgotten, .229/.267/.260. Lou Piniella looked at Brian Hunter (was it?), a skinny stolen base guy who couldn't hit, and said acidly "His on-base is .290 and that should be his BATTING AVERAGE."
What about a .260 SLG? It's enough to cost you the postseason by one game ...
Excellent Jackson article by Colin O'Keefe who points out it's cool when your weaknesses, such as backup catcher (!!), speak to how good you are.
In that article, O'Keefe reminds of Lloyd McClendon's assessment. Thusly:
- Remember, I was with AJax in Detroit, sez Lloyd
- AJax was way worn down late last year
- His swing was [flat and static] [Dr D concurs]
- Look for AJax to play well in 2015
And as Lookout Landing saber-metz, Jackson has had a definite tendency lately to lose ISO in the second half. Read: to wear down, get sluggish and wooden the last two months.
This is said about a thousand guys, by a thousand managers, but in this specific case I'll buy what Lloyd's sellin'. So will everybody else. In your local roto league, Austin Jackson is not going to be available as a 1-win player. (And that 1 win was after 2 wins in Detroit and -1 in Seattle, we're guessing.)
As James says, baseball is about the strike zone. He, and I, put a lot more weight on simple K:BB ratio than most people do. Jackson's EYE was 12:59 (!) for Seattle. That ain't Riiiiggggght.
And Jackson has established an ability to do rather better in the major leagues. This isn't Jesus Montero we're wondering about here. Austin Jackson hit big league pitching quite well in 2010, at age 23, and hit well for Detroit in 2014, and hit well every day in between.
BaseballHQ, which is down on him, forecasts .270/.330/.400 next year in Safeco. A move from .229/.267/.260 to .270/.330/.400 is a move from 2.4 runs per game to 4.6 runs per game, a move from a 50 OPS+ to a 100 OPS+. It would be loosely comparable to a swap of Logan Morrison for Miguel Cabrera, which wouldn't hurt our chances any.
Here's a breakdown from Jeffy that recommends a simpler swing for AJax. McClendon concurs. Here is a RotoGraphs post that names Jackson to its All-Sleeper 2015 team, and suggests that he may have been trying to do too much after being moved in the batting order.
Dr. D's aiki opinion here?
You got an average hitter there. Average-solid, across the board. Average-solid as opposed to average-mediocre, a 52 hitter as opposed to a 48 hitter. Name something about hitting and Jackson is average at it. Average in the sense that he's easily capable of average, rather than scrambling to be average. :: cough christaylor cough ::
Logically (as opposed to in practical terms) there should be no way that Jackson doesn't figure out a way to become average again. That's the easiest thing in the world, to be average-solid at something and to become that again.
You used to be superb at something, and you've lost it? Getting it back, that's tough. You used to be just barely competent, and now you're terrible, and you're trying to get back into traffic again? That's even tougher.
But being normal and accepted, and in flow, and you're a little flat, and you need to recapture your routine? I'll take that over the alternatives.
How to keep Jackson from fading? Try playing him less than 154 games. Run the OF rotation and go after that .300/.380/.480 line he had in 2012, when he was well rested.