Jackson Keeping It Simple

With a .348 batting average and team-leading 11 stolen bases, outfielder Austin Jackson is certainly proving that he is capable of playing at the Triple-A level. The lack of home runs could be discouraging to some, but Jackson is taking the time to refine both his approach and mechanics in order to make the jump to the next level.

There is no question that Austin Jackson can handle playing in Triple-A. He proved that with a .371 AVG in his first month with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees. The only question that remains to be answered is whether or not Jackson can take the final steps in order to completely refine his game.

"I just know that things can change quickly," Jackson said. "Things could change even more when I get called up. That being said, I'm definitely hoping that what I'm doing now can translate over when I get a shot at the big leagues."

Jackson's .348 batting average and 26 RBI in 187 at-bats prove that he can handle Independent League pitching. While the high average is encouraging, he'll need to walk more and strikeout less in order to continue to develop into an All-Star caliber player.

His tremendous bat speed has helped him maintain the high batting average, but he will need to keep working on his pitch selection and patience.

"Right now, I'm just trying to keep things simple, and see the ball and focus on watching the pitch. No matter how hard you hit the ball, you have to see it first," he added. "I'm practicing that a lot in the cage, just trying to keep it simple, see the ball and make good contact."

Jackson says that he's working in the cages and with coaches every day in order to improve his consistency and approach at the plate. His efforts are paying off in the contact department, but Jackson just hit his first home run on Thursday, coming in his 50th game of the season.

The lack of homers does not make him nervous, however. Jackson says that hitting a ground ball through the middle for a base hit is just as important as driving the ball for a home run.

"That's how it is. As long as I'm seeing the ball and making good contact, I'm satisfied and not worried one bit."

Like Jackson, fans have no cause for concern. Jackson already has 16 extra-base hits on the year, and as he develops, those hard-hit balls will likely become homers.

He's also displayed plenty of power in the past, compiling 114 extra-base hits prior to 2009, including a 13 home run season as a 20 year-old for Single-A Charleston and Tampa. At 22 years-old, he has plenty of time to add muscle and refine his swing.

What makes Jackson such an intriguing prospect are his tools: he can make solid contact, hit for some power, field well and run fast. He hasn't stolen more than 20 bases since swiping 36 in 2006, but Jackson has dramatically improved his running game this season.

"A lot of base stealing depends on the pitcher and catcher you're facing, so you really have to read both guys, and it takes time to learn that sort of thing. Also my legs are stronger now and that has really helped on the bases."

He attributes his 11 unanswered steals to an offseason full of leg conditioning and speed training.

"I worked hard on getting my legs stronger to help with the fielding and running, mainly because my legs gave out on me toward the end of last season.

"Making my legs stronger also helps with my speed, and now I've really corrected my form and improved that first-step explosion that will help me on the base paths and in the outfield."

The speed training is definitely paying off for the outfielder, who has yet to make an error this season. He appears to be getting better jumps on fly balls and taking better routes.

Defense could be the deciding factor in determining where the 22 year-old plays in the future, but he looks natural in center field.

Jackson has taken the necessary steps to improve his defense, base running and contact, but he still needs to walk more and cut down on the strikeouts.

Paired with the lack of power, the strikeout rate will likely keep the outfielder in Triple-A for the remainder of the season, barring a major injury. Jackson vows to keep working on improving his game, in hopes of soon reaching the majors.

"I want to become more consistent. If you can put your work in and translate that over to the field, you can be successful," Jackson said.

"The Yankees haven't really said anything about future plans, but as long as I keep working and keep playing good, I'll put them in a situation where they have to bring me up."

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Pinstripes Plus Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nThere is no question that Austin Jackson can handle playing in Triple-A. He proved that with a .371 AVG in his first month with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees. The only question that remains to be answered is whether or not Jackson can take the final steps in order to completely refine his game.
\r\n
\r\n\"I just know that things can change quickly,\" Jackson said. \"Things could change even more when I get called up. That being said, I'm definitely hoping that what I'm doing now can translate over when I get a shot at the big leagues.\"
\r\n
\r\nJackson's .348 batting average and 26 RBI in 187 at-bats prove that he can handle Independent League pitching. While the high average is encouraging, he'll need to walk more and strikeout less in order to continue to develop into an All-Star caliber player.
\r\n
\r\nHis tremendous bat speed has helped him maintain the high batting average, but he will need to keep working on his pitch selection and patience.
\r\n
\r\n\"Right now, I'm just trying to keep things simple, and see the ball and focus on watching the pitch. No matter how hard you hit the ball, you have to see it first,\" he added. \"I'm practicing that a lot in the cage, just trying to keep it simple, see the ball and make good contact.\"
\r\n
\r\nJackson says that he's working in the cages and with coaches every day in order to improve his consistency and approach at the plate. His efforts are paying off in the contact department, but Jackson just hit his first home run on Thursday, coming in his 50th game of the season.
\r\n
\r\nThe lack of homers does not make him nervous, however. Jackson says that hitting a ground ball through the middle for a base hit is just as important as driving the ball for a home run.
\r\n
\r\n\"That's how it is. As long as I'm seeing the ball and making good contact, I'm satisfied and not worried one bit.\"
\r\n
\r\nLike Jackson, fans have no cause for concern. Jackson already has 16 extra-base hits on the year, and as he develops, those hard-hit balls will likely become homers.
\r\n
\r\nHe's also displayed plenty of power in the past, compiling 114 extra-base hits prior to 2009, including a 13 home run season as a 20 year-old for Single-A Charleston and Tampa. At 22 years-old, he has plenty of time to add muscle and refine his swing.
\r\n
\r\nWhat makes Jackson such an intriguing prospect are his tools: he can make solid contact, hit for some power, field well and run fast. He hasn't stolen more than 20 bases since swiping 36 in 2006, but Jackson has dramatically improved his running game this season.
\r\n
\r\n\"A lot of base stealing depends on the pitcher and catcher you're facing, so you really have to read both guys, and it takes time to learn that sort of thing. Also my legs are stronger now and that has really helped on the bases.\"
\r\n
\r\nHe attributes his 11 unanswered steals to an offseason full of leg conditioning and speed training.
\r\n
\r\n\"I worked hard on getting my legs stronger to help with the fielding and running, mainly because my legs gave out on me toward the end of last season.
\r\n
\r\n\"Making my legs stronger also helps with my speed, and now I've really corrected my form and improved that first-step explosion that will help me on the base paths and in the outfield.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe speed training is definitely paying off for the outfielder, who has yet to make an error this season. He appears to be getting better jumps on fly balls and taking better routes.
\r\n
\r\nDefense could be the deciding factor in determining where the 22 year-old plays in the future, but he looks natural in center field.
\r\n
\r\nJackson has taken the necessary steps to improve his defense, base running and contact, but he still needs to walk more and cut down on the strikeouts.
\r\n
\r\nPaired with the lack of power, the strikeout rate will likely keep the outfielder in Triple-A for the remainder of the season, barring a major injury. Jackson vows to keep working on improving his game, in hopes of soon reaching the majors.
\r\n
\r\n\"I want to become more consistent. If you can put your work in and translate that over to the field, you can be successful,\" Jackson said.
\r\n
\r\n\"The Yankees haven't really said anything about future plans, but as long as I keep working and keep playing good, I'll put them in a situation where they have to bring me up.\"
\r\n
\r\n

\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n
\r\n

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\r\n

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