Edwin Jackson, less Action Jackson more Awful Jackson, AMIRITE?
The only good thing about Jacksonâ€™s 2013 has been his career high 8.59 K/9 rate. Unfortunately, his K% (20.1) and swinging strike% (9.6) are pretty similar to past performances, making the K/9 rate more of an outlier. In short, the one nice thing about Jacksonâ€™s seasonâ€”the 56 Kâ€™s in 58.2 inningsâ€”is likely to come back to earth.
Still, rather than this small snippet pointing to a need to cut bait with Jackson (if you havenâ€™t already), now might be the best time to acquire him. Despite normal HR/FB rates, Jacksonâ€™s strand rate is pretty miserable: 55.9%. In addition, his BABIP (.358) is higher than anything he has ever done over a full sample of innings.
While he is throwing his fastball a lot less than his career average, itâ€™s pretty much dead on his last three yearâ€™s average. He threw his fastball 49% of the time in 2010, 44% in 2011 and 46% last season â€“ he is at 46% this season.
That said, he is throwing it slightly slower. It’s down about 1.5 MPH from his 2010 mark. However, looking back at his early season performances, it’s easy to notice it has taken Jackson awhile to reach his optimal velocity. In 2012, his fastball averaged 93.95 MPH in April and 94.74 MPH in May. This year he averaged 93.51 in April and 93.56 in May.
It might be taking him a bit longer to dial up the velocity, but the swinging strikes are still there and he is still getting ground balls. It appears that his BABIP and strand rate are a bit bullhonky. His bullpen (which is horrible and probably a constant) deserves some credit for that criminal strand rate, so itâ€™s not likely heâ€™ll suddenly rebound to his pre-Cubs average.
Still, even if you give him a below average strand rate, heâ€™s a solid pitcher the rest of the way. The durable Jackson should be good for another 135 innings this year. Â He should be good for a 3.88 ERA, a 1.32 WHIP and 120 Kâ€™s, if he dials up the velocity a little, continues to get ground balls and his bullpen gives him a little better effort.
Clearly, in NL-onlys or dynasty leagues, Jackson makes a solid trade target. In shallower formats, heâ€™s probably available on the wire.
At the low, low price of basically nothing, fantasy GMs should be buying. He does have a 3.65 FIP, 3.73 xFIP and 3.86 SIERA.
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