FanPost

Who are you, and what have you done with Edwin Jackson?

Look there he is!

P7190174_medium

via lostinsoxcountry.wordpress.com

As I’m currently in NYC for the summer, I got a chance to see my boy Edwin Jackson pitch against the Yankees last Sunday. I proudly wore my Rays Jackson jersey throughout the game (okay I don’t really own one, did anyone ever?). Funny thing is, Edwin Jackson is actually good this year, as the buddy I went with reminded me. Incessantly.

Seriously, what happened to Edwin Jackson? For the Rays he was at best, average, and at worst, well… it was painful. Moving to Detroit he all of a sudden found command, mastered his slider which always gave him fits, and blossomed into an All-Star pitcher. Which got me thinking as I was sitting there, lost in Yankees country, how did he do it? What changed?

Let’s look at his 2008 and 2009 splits just for fun before we dig in.

 

ERA

WHIP

K/9

BB/9

HR/9

BABIP

tRA

O-Swg

2008

4.42

1.51

5.30

3.78

1.13

0.301

5.68

21.7%

2009

2.52

1.08

7.06

2.80

0.84

0.249

3.26

27.5%

Good grief, it’s an entirely different pitcher. More strikeouts, less walks, less homers. But look at that BABIP and O-Swing percentage. Jackson’s getting lucky and batters are chasing his pitches. The 2009 version is the Ejax we could only dream of.

But, looking at 2008 and 2009 Pitch f/x data, I’ve come up with the conclusion Jackson really doesn’t appear to be all that different. Okay, that’s not entirely true, one of his pitches is entirely different, but could that pitch be the sole explanation for why Jackson suddenly turned into a beast?

2008 Pitches

Pitch Type

Avg. Speed

Max Speed

Avg. H-Break

Avg. V-Break

Num. %

Strike %

CH

85.80

90.40

-6.91

5.94

7.7%

55.7%

CU

78.07

82.60

2.65

-4.64

2.0%

70.2%

FA

94.18

99.80

-3.93

10.90

68.5%

62.1%

SL

86.80

91.60

2.25

3.01

20.7%

62.8%

2009 Pitches

Pitch Type

Avg. Speed

Max Speed

Avg. H-Break

Avg. V-Break

Num. %

Strike %

CH

85.18

88.10

-7.28

6.04

6.1%

54.6%

CU

80.89

86.30

2.04

-3.85

3.5%

56.7%

FF

94.34

99.80

-4.37

10.59

65.7%

64.8%

SL

85.97

90.00

0.54

2.13

24.4%

61.7%

So the 2009 Jackson is throwing slightly fewer fastballs and more sliders. He’s also throwing his fastball for more strikes, 64.8% vs 62.1%. Everything looks roughly the same between 2009 and 2008. So how did he become the dominant pitcher he is today? If you look closely, you’ll see the slight shift in horizontal break in all his pitches. I admit I was surprised when I saw the shift and don’t really know what it means. Maybe it’s better as more of his pitches tail away from lefties? Although, what’s also interesting is that his fastball-changeup speed difference, and fastball-slider speed difference both gained about 1 mph. But the pitch that’s really jumps out is his slider. It’s essentially a completely different slider as seen below.

Ejax_medium

via lostinsoxcountry.wordpress.com

Look at that change from 2008 to 2009. His 2009 slider has more drop and significantly less horizontal break. It still has the same speed, but it’s no longer breaking away from righties as much. Is this the answer to why Jackson has suddenly become ridiculously good? Everything else in his 2009 pitches seems to be in line with his 2008 pitches, except for that slider. Any ideas on what else it could be?

Or, as my buddy quipped, maybe he’s just channeling his inner Verlander, duh.

Thanks to: Baseball Reference, Brooks Baseball, Fangraphs, StatCorner

This post was written by a member of the DRaysBay community and does not necessarily express the views or opinions of DRaysBay staff.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join DRaysBay

You must be a member of DRaysBay to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at DRaysBay. You should read them.

Join DRaysBay

You must be a member of DRaysBay to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at DRaysBay. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker