02 February 2006

Pending Pinstripes Yankee Prospect of the Week: Austin Jackson

Austin Jackson, OF

Born: February 1, 1987
Height: 6-1 Weight: 185
Bats/Throws: Right
High School: Ryan High School (Denton,TX)
Drafted: by NY Yankees in 8th round of 2005 June amateur draft

Happy Birthday to Austin Jackson, who turned 19 years old yesterday. If he's good, it should be just a matter of time before the pundits start calling him 'Action' Jackson, except that I doubt any of his teammates in the Gulf Coast League are old enough to remember that awful movie. Good for them.

Baseball America lists Jackson as the Yankees’ 5th best prospect this year, and notes that they spent an 8th round record $800K to sign him and make sure he didn’t go to Georgia Tech to play basketball instead. His first year in professional ball wasn’t bad, especially considering that he was all of 18 years old:

G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO Avg Obp Slg Ops
40 148 32 45 11 2 0 14 11 2 18 26 .304 .374 .405 779

Though he didn’t quite make the listings on The Baseball Cube, Jackson was near the GCL leaders in runs scored, doubles, steals and walks, all good signs for souch a young player. He hit for average, showed some patience and speed, and didn’t strike out every three trips to the plate. He also didn’t ever get a chance to jog around the bases, with zero homers in 148 at-bats.

What’s he got going for him?

Jackson’s very young, and the organization has known about him for a long time. He was first scouted by the Yankees when he was 12(!) That’s right: In the time of life during which you and I were delivering newspapers and trying to figure out how many sets of pegs we could get on our BMX bike at the same time, Austin had scouts from the Yankees coming to his Little League games. Just doesn’t seem fair.

Anywho, so he’s young. He’s also patient, which is not typical of youngsters in any industry, so much less with baseball players. Baseball America reports that he’s got good bat control and an “inside-out” stroke not unlike Derek Jeter’s.

What’s he got going against him?

Youth, ironically. Except it’s not so much a strike against Jacklson’s talent as it is a detriment to our ability to evaluate that talent. It’s so early, with only 40 games on his record, that anything can happen to this guy before he ends up in The Show, which might not be for another five years or more, for all we know. The other issue is his lack of power, as he failed to hit a homer in any of those 40 games. Most 18 year olds are not yet “filled out” and so when Jackson gains some years and some weight, we’ll have to see if he can also gain some power without losing all that speed and patience.

Prognosis for 2006:

Jackson will get some action in Class A, probably in Charleston of the Low-A South Atlantic League. River Dogs’ hitting coach Torre Tyson will try to teach him to pull the ball there, which is ironic because in his 5-year minor league career, Tyson was also a speedy, patient slap hitter who never had more than 3 homers in a season. Jackson might go as far as High-A Tampa by the end of the year, but not farther than that this season.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

No comments: