For many promising pitchers, it takes a few years for them to figure things out at the big league level. Well Edwin Jackson is really starting to figure things out. Jackson was rated in the Baseball America Top 100 3 times, and most notably at number 3 overall in 2004. Jackson made his major league debut at the very young age of 19 with the Dodgers. He bounced back and fourth between the majors and the minors up until 2007 which is when he became a regular in the then Devil Rays rotation at the age of 23. Jackson’s career stats are not the prettiest, with a 4.57 ERA, 4.48 FIP, and a 6.78 K/9 but there is still a lot of promise. Jackson is now with his 5th Major League team, the Chicago White Sox, and he is still only 27 years old. Things are really looking good for Jackson as he finished last year very strong and he has dominated in his first two starts this year.
Jackson was traded from the Arizona Diamonbacks to the Chicago White Sox last season on July 30th. Prior to the trade, he was not performing well but something must have clicked when he put on that White Sox jersey because he really picked it up.
Before the trade, Jackson pitched in 134.1 innings and after the trade he pitched in 75.0 innings. Despite pitching in fewer innings with the White Sox, Jackson had a better WAR of 2.0 with the Sox as opposed to his 1.8 WAR with Arizona.
Jackson ended the season on a tear, and he has picked up right where he left off in his first two starts of 2011. While the sample sizes for this season are still very small, Edwin Jackson has been very impressive.
His first start came against the Cleveland Indians. Jackson went 6 strong innings in which he gave up 3 runs, 2 of them earned. He threw 99 pitches; 58 strikes and 41 balls and he struck out 7 and walked 4. In his second start, Jackson was much more dominant as he went up against the Tampa Bay Rays. He went 8 innings, allowing 4 hits, 1 run, and striking out 13. Here is how some of Edwin Jackson’s 2011 stats rank thus far:
*“Percentage of times a batter makes contact with the ball when swinging at pitches thrown inside the strike zone” Via Fangraphs
Jackson has a 1.93 ERA thus far and he has been dominant. He has really made a lot of batters swing and miss which as you can see in the Z-Contact% stat above. His slider has really helped him out this year and he has thrown it well. He has thrown his slider 40.4% of the time this year which is the highest in the league and he has been locating it very well. Could Jackson’s slider be the key to his success?
As we go back to 2010, and the whole before and after the trade situation, Jackson began throwing his slider a lot more after the trade. Prior to the trade Jackson was throwing his slider 25.9% of the time and after the trade he began to throw it 36.1% of the time. He has really developed this pitch and if he keeps locating it, his success will continue.
I really like Jackson as a breakout candidate for 2011 and I think he will continue to pitch well throughout the year. I predict that he will make the all-star team this year and if all of this happens, he will have a nice off-season as he is in a contract year.
Jackson will look to continue his hot start as he takes the mound again on Tuesday against the Oakland Athletics.
Filed under: Digging Deep - Analysis | Tagged: Chicago White Sox, Diamondbacks, Edwin Jackson, Rays, White Sox | 1 Comment »