TigsTown 2011 Player Capsule: Austin Jackson

The dreaded sophomore slump arrived for Austin Jackson, as his production dropped off notably from an impressive rookie campaign. However, it's not all bad news for AJax, as he saw some improvement in some important areas (overshadowed by a dramatic drop in a measure that varies wildly) and established himself as a top flight defender.

Austin Jackson

Five Numbers That Sum Up The Season











What It All Means

The dreaded sophomore slump that many feared from Jackson ended up materializing, as after being a rookie with a near .300 batting average and above average OPS+, Jackson fell back down to earth with a .249 average and 89 OPS+. However, the reality is that this wasn't a regression from a production standpoint, but rather a dramatic drop in his BAbip, which fell from his baseball-leading .396 in 2010 to a more modest .340. The reality is that Jackson actually improved his walk rate (up to .084 from .069) and his isolated slugging (up to .125 from .107) and his strikeout rate only jumped a little bit, at least compared to what it seemed as he struck out 27% of the time, compared to 25% in 2010. Jackson also continued to be an outstanding defender, with an 8.0 UZR/150 and a positive dWAR.

What Does the Future Hold

It's decision time for Jackson and the Tigers, as they have to ultimately put him in a role where he can succeed, which means choosing if they're going to try and focus him on developing his leadoff skills, or allow his power to develop as his body grows and become a hitter that would fit more readily in the number six or seven spot in the order. Despite being a speedy centerfielder, Jackson's offensive profile does not fit the ideal leadoff role, and being forced into that could be stunting his growth. The flip side is that there aren't many that fit that mold to begin with, and Jackson has the skill-set where he could still excel there.

Contract Status

Jackson has just two years of service time, which leaves him with a status of having his contract renewed again at the minimum before he's in line for arbitration in another year.

All statistics are provided by Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs.com, with all contract information thanks to Cot's Contracts.

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