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June 5, 2013 posted by Albert Lang

Fantasy Baseball Go Get Him: Edwin Jackson?

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Photo Credit: BaseballBacks

Photo Credit: BaseballBacks

Edwin Jackson, less Action Jackson more Awful Jackson, AMIRITE?

The only good thing about Jackson’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 Jackson’s season—the 56 K’s in 58.2 innings—is likely to come back to earth.

Still, rather than this small snippet pointing to a need to cut bait with Jackson (if you haven’t already), now might be the best time to acquire him. Despite normal HR/FB rates, Jackson’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, it’s pretty much dead on his last three year’s average. He threw his fastball 49% of the time in 2010, 44% in 2011 and 46% last season – 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 it’s not likely he’ll suddenly rebound to his pre-Cubs average.

Still, even if you give him a below average strand rate, he’s a solid pitcher the rest of the way. The durable Jackson should be good for another 135 innings this year.  He should be good for a 3.88 ERA, a 1.32 WHIP and 120 K’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, he’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.

Albert has been playing and arguing about baseball and fantasy sports since 2002. Since 1982, he has also been largely miserable (here’s looking at you Armando Benitez) because of the Orioles and Eagles. Albert has won leagues and lost leagues, but he has the most fun debating player values. Albert typically plays in several baseball and football leagues a year. He also is an avid baseball card collector and writes about older players and their historical value relative to the Hall of Fame and their peers/current players. When not harassing league mates with trades and analyzing what categories his team performs poorly in, Albert is a communications professional in Washington, D.C. Follow Albert on Twitter @h2h_corner. He has an awesome puppy named Charlotte. You can find all of Albert's work at http://h2hcorner.wordpress.com/.
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