Writers around the internet have not exactly been praising Tigers General Manger Dave Dombrowski for his latest trade. Last night’s trade that saw the Tigers trade send OF Matt Joyce to the Tampa Bay Rays for SP Edwin Jackson is getting mixed reviews to say the least. Let’s just say that Tigers fans are a little put-off about trading Joyce who showed some pop from the left side of the dish last year, something the Tigers have lacked for a couple of years.
However, the deal is done. Last I checked, there is not a lot we can do to reverse the deal. Edwin Jackson is now a Detroit Tiger whether we like it or not. Here’s a list of possible Tigers starters in 2009:
- Justin Verlander
- Armando Galarraga
- Jeremy Bonderman
- Edwin Jackson
- Zach Miner
- Nate Robertson
- Dontrelle Willis
Robertson and Willis are clearly the major question marks of this group. However, if Jeremy Bonderman comes back healthy, the Tigers top five suddenly looks at least a little bit promising doesn’t it?
Anyway, Jackson is the guy we know the least about at this point. Here are the bare bones about the Tigers newest pitcher:
- Just turned 25 in September (only 11 months older than Joyce)
- Right handed
- Made big league debut at 19 with the Dodgers
- Went 14-11 with an ERA of 4.42 with the Rays last season
- Got hit in the head by a thrown ball while backing up a play against the Tigers a couple of years ago. Remember that? It was kind of scary when it happened.
That’s the basic stuff, but let’s dig a bit deeper. Jackson’s ERA+ last year was 101, which tells us that he was just about average last year on the mound. When the Rays made it to the playoffs last year, Jackson was the odd man out of the rotation and made three relief appearances in the playoffs. This is why many people have some questions about Jackson. For example: If he’s so good, then why were the Rays ready to trade him? If he’s so good, why was he left out of the playoff rotation? All good questions, let’s dig even deeper.
- Of 40 American League pitchers who qualified for the ERA title (I’ll use that for the rest of the stats posted here), Jackson ranked 35th in WHIP. Ahead of Nate Robertson and Kenny Rogers but trailing the likes of Vicente Padilla and Paul Byrd.
- Ranked 27th in Quality Start Percentage at 48.4%. Just to refresh, a quality start is a start where the pitcher goes at least six innings and gives up three or fewer earned runs. Jackson ranked ahead of Nate Robertson, Kenny Rogers and Justin Verlander.
- He ranked sixth in the American League in Walks/9 innings. This is not a good thing. The only Tigers starter who walked batters at a higher rate was Justin Verlander.
- His strikeout to walk ratio was 1.4:1. Good for 37th in the American League. This is getting depressing.
- 61.3% of the pitches he threw went for strikes. That mark ranks him 34th in the American League.
Edwin Jackson seems to be the classic example of a guy who had a better record than he deserved in 2008. I hate to say that, I absolutely hate it.
This cannot be all gloom and doom though, it just can’t. The fact remains the Jackson is still only 25 years old. It’s not like he’s a washed up pitcher who is on the decline, he’s less than a year older than Matt Joyce.
While Jackson did take some lumps last season, he did have a few stretches where he was very good.
- In his first nine starts of the season, Jackson posted an ERA of 3.29. Opposing batters hit only .240 off of him and he gave up only three home runs. During that run of success, Jackson threw seven innings of five hit ball and gave up only 1 run to the Boston Red Sox as the Rays proved to the baseball world that they were for real.
- During a four game stretch in June and July, Jackson had an ERA of 2.30 and walked only 8 batters over 27+ innings. Opposing batters hit only .214 and he limited the New York Yankees to one earned run over 6.1 innings.
- Over a four game stretch in August, when the Rays were attempting to hold off the charging Red Sox, Jackson was at his best. He went 3-1 with an ERA of 1.73. His wins included triumphs over the AL Central Champion White Sox and the Toronto Blue Jays.
I don’t think Jackson is a lost cause. Let’s give the guy a shot. Even though he can be up-and-dow, he and his 95 mph+ heater could really do some damage against the opposition in 2009.