Friday, May 25, 2012

What's Wrong With the Tigers Offense? - Austin Jackson

Most Tigers fans have been very angry, especially in the last few weeks with the Tigers offense, myself included. Tigers fans expected much better, and the players have underperformed thus far. To perhaps explain their struggles better, I will break down player-by-player to see what the problems are or may be.

Assuming the lineup would be this on an everyday basis, this is how i'll go in order for each blog post.

1. Austin Jackson, 2. Andy Dirks, 3. Miguel Cabrera, 4. Prince Fielder, 5. Delmon Young, 6. Brennan Boesch, 7. Alex Avila, 8. Jhonny Peralta, 9. Ryan Raburn/Ramon Santiago (I will combine them into one post).

We'll start off with Austin Jackson.

Jackson, unlike most the other players on the team this season has played very well, some consider his play at a MVP level. He was however placed on the 15 day DL yesterday, and he'll be missed.

This season, Jackson has hit at a line .331/.414/.544. Based on his career line of .277/.340/.403, we can assume that Jackson may be playing a bit over his head right now, however, we can't be too sure because of the new mechanics in his swing that he's used this season. Maybe this is what we can expect from Jackson?

Well, lets look at why Jackson is doing so well.

Austin Jackson in his career strikes out a lot, and show that Jackson has a career strikeout rate of 25.3%, however this year it's down to 18.2%. That means Jackson is making much more contact, and has more chances to get hits. Also, by making more contact, he is fouling off more balls and thus drawing more walks. He has a career walk percentage of 8.2%, but this season that is up to 12.6%.

Why else may Jackson be having success? He is swinging at better pitches. His O-Swing percentage (percentage of swings a player swings at out of the strike zone) is down to 22.2% from his career average of 27.4%. Jackson is also being more selective with his swing% (the overall percentage of swings a batter takes); His career average is 45.4% and this season it's at 42.4%.

It's proven Jackson is making better contact by his SwStr% (percentage of pitches a batter swings and misses on), his career average is 9.5%, but is down to 8.3% this season.

The power numbers may be up for Jackson because his natural power is coming more to him as he gets older and stronger. Jackson is playing in his age 25 season, and when making more contact and putting more balls in play, it gives him a chance to use his speed more often.

According to Austin Jackson is on pace to play 133 games, hit for 37 doubles, 7 triples, and 18 home runs. Once Jackson comes off the DL, we have to expect his games played will be higher than 133, I think the doubles and triples are very realistic, if not a higher amount. Jackson hit 34 doubles his rookie season, so it's not out of the possibility for him to hit 35-40 doubles. Jackson hit 10 triples in 2010 and 11 triples in 2011, so I would expect him to hit for the same amount in 2012. Now the home runs; Jackson hit 4 in 2010 and 10 in 2011, so his power is coming in. I think 15 is a realistic number for him, but it could be a little bit higher or lower depending on his flyball percentage.

So, Jackson hasn't been a problem, unlike most of his teammates, but hopefully these numbers help explain why Jackson is having the success that he has had this season.

The next player in this series will be Andy Dirks.

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