[image title="lvzvsysz" size="full" id="3171" align="right" ]Melky Cabrera is currently hitting the cover off the ball after taking the center field job away from Brett Gardner. His newfound hitting ability may or may not be real, but the Yankees will ride him as long as they can. While they may return to Gardner, it remains likely that the team will need a better player to play center field before the season is over.
Austin Jackson is also currently hitting the cover off the ball for Triple-A Scranton. His line sits at .389/.464/.486, with 18 strikeouts against 9 walks in 19 games. He has stolen 7 bases without being caught, and hit just two double and two triples without a home run. His raw numbers also feature a .490 BABIP, a 48% GB%, 22% LD%, and 30% FB%.
At least some of Austin Jackson’s performance must be attributed to luck. He has hit 11 line drives so far this year and every one has fallen in for a hit. He is striking out more than he has in two seasons, and not hitting for a lot of power. But how much of this should we attribute to luck? To some degree, Jackson may be overmatching his Triple-A opponents. We’ve seen Jose Tabata in the past enter phases like this – where he can pretty much hit a single at will, so he doesn’t try to do more. Jackson’s ability to hit to the opposite field like Derek Jeter means that he should be able to post abnormally high BABIPs when hitting well.
Austin Jackson is not Brett Gardner. He is not going to post slugging numbers south of .400 for his career. Power is an important part of his game, and he should be hitting for a reasonable amount of it when he is playing at the top of his game. Regardless of how many singles he is hitting, we shouldn’t expect Jackson to be locked in enough to jump a level mid-season until he is hitting at least a few over the fence.
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