phpcPQzVDEdwin Jackson threw 135 pitches in his last start prior to Sunday. How tired was his arm yesterday in the follow-up start? So tired he threw 8 shutout innings to lower his ERA to 2.30, second only to Zach Greinke in the AL. He gave up 2 hits, 1 walk and struck out 7

What is interesting about Jackson’s improvement in 2009 is that his control isn’t any better. Last year, 38.0% of his pitches were called balls. This year, the number is actually up a little to 38.5%.

So what is the difference? So far in 2009 his fastball, slider and changeup are all being thrown harder. His fastball is up from 94.8 to 95.4. His slider from 85.4 to 87.1 and the change from 86.5 to 87.1.

But more telling is the confidence he now has in those secondary pitches. Last year Jackson threw 67.7% fastballs, with 23.5% sliders and 8.8% changeups. This year he only throws the fastball 61.0% of the time while his slider is up to 27.3% and the change is up to 11.7%.

All of these numbers add up to a 20.6% increase in swinging strikes.

We have long said that one of these years Jackson would put it all together and contend for a Cy Young award. But nobody could have foreseen that it would happen this quickly.

Edwin Jackson throws eight shutout innings in Tigers’ win over Orioles [Mlive.com]

 
 

12 Comments

  1. Jake says:

    Small Sample Size alert. He had a good stretch last year before getting hammered pretty badly last year.

    • In his entire career with the Rays there might be 2 starts that even compare to what he has done in the first two months this year. he has never been this good, this consistently.

  2. Don says:

    Edwin Jackson was on the “borderline” of becoming an outstanding Major League pitcher last year(remember 14 wins)…
    and the thing that is most irritating is that we “gave” him away for
    some guy named Joyce??
    Joyce will have to be an all star outfielder for 10 years to make up for losing Jackson…anyone want to take bets on that happening….

  3. Sublime says:

    Much to the Chagrin of many on this forum, I have been beating the Edwin Jackson drum for some time now. Although he’s no longer in a Rays Uniform, I wish him all the best. Being a Ray Fan, I really hope Matt Joyce turns into a helluva player, so hopefully the feeling of being “duped” will soon fade.

    In listening to 620 AM Steve Dumig (spelling) over the off-season, the debates raged about who to trade Sonnestine or Jackson? The majority of the callers wanted Jackson traded, and I kept saying to myself, ” Why would you trade a pitcher who has the upside of becoming a dominant power pitcher and opposed to a player, Sonnestine, who’s skills are going to stay about as is. Sh*t never made sense to me.

    Imagine a Rotation with Shields, Price, Garza and Jackson right now. Straight Fire!

    • KillaTapes says:

      True. But I don’t think many people thought Sonny would fall off the way that he has- he was always more consistent than Edwin. Also, I think we got more in return for Edwin than we would have with Sonny.

      If we had a crystal ball and could foresee what Edwin’s doing this year of course a different approach could have been made, but we got a good young player that can potentially help the team for years to come, so let’s hope for the best out of Joyce.

      Also, I second your support for Edwin, it seems everyone here wants him to do poorly just to justify the trade. I think he and Joyce can both succeed and make the trade worthwhile for both teams. We knew he had talent, but you have to give talent to get it in return.

    • Joe D. says:

      I was at one Jacksons “good” starts in 2007 Aug 22 against the Red Sox. I sat right behind home plate and got to see how truly “nasty” his stuff can be, I looked up his line for that game and it wasn’t even all that impressive 6 IP 5 H 1 R 1ER, 5 BB, and only 3K. But I’ve also been seen Jackson fall apart at the seems.

      I remember watching a game that he was pitching doing well, I forget who or when anything, but the hitter fouled off 2-3 good pitches in a row, and Jackson just “lost it.” his demeanor changed, he got frustrated, and he started trying to over throw pitches, between pitches he’d get nervous habits, he’d be tugging on his jersey, he’d be playing with his ball cap, and start walking the park, then lay one in there just to get a strike in the count.

      For what ever reason, Maddon and Hickey couldn’t get Jackson over that hump while they had him, and couldn’t break him of those habits, nerves, what ever you call it, and Jackson was out of options in ’07 when he really needed to be in the Minors.

      I’m not sure what you call it, but he couldn’t get it together in Tampa Bay, but he’s been able to get together in Detroit, good for him…I think when you look at when the trade was made, the Rays made the best trade that they could, Sonny still has options, he’s viewed as viable bullpen option if needed, the Rays most glaring weakness is RF (and back up CF) and they were able to address that with the acquisition of Matt Joyce, who also still had options.

      It’s really easy to have 20/20 hindsight, and easy to second guess a trade when it was “first guessed” by many people, but I really think that it’s unfair to classify this trade as “duped”, I think that it was a fair trade, especialy when consider that the Rays were trimming budget, getting a player with options, and further away from arbitration and free agency, and was near ML ready and filling a position of need.

      • I too am very happy for Jackson. Always seemed like a good kid. My only complaint about the trade (one I made at the time) was I was surprised the Rays didn’t get a little more for a starting pitcher with so much potential. Not a lot more. Maybe Joyce and a solid AA pitching prospect or a young single A catcher. Something. I just didn’t think Joyce’s track record or potential equaled Jackson. Close maybe. But not the same.

  4. theraysparty says:

    This why that writer compared him Josh Gibson. Though I don’t agree with that statement, Jackson has really took advantage of this change of scenery. It was an exchange of strengths for both teams and I agree with Jake that it is a small sample size and looking at his game logs, has yet to face a really hot hitting team when he made the start.

  5. Amanda says:

    Deumig mentioned what I was thinking about Jackson. His fastball has gone up 4 miles per hour since he left six months ago. Just like Deumig just said, it’s noteworty, and just like he said, I hope it’s nothing fishy. I’d hate for him to wreck his health and his career by doing it artificially. (Please don’t see this as an accusation … more of a concern.)

    • Joe D. says:

      I’m not too surprised by Jacksons increase in velocity, when Jackson was with the Rays his he could top out at 97-98, and I think even touch 99, but he had little control when his velocity was that high. So, to see his velocity up by one MPH (guestimation based on all of his pitches not just fastball, on Prof. numbers shown above) and his strike total down by .5% (based on numbers above) sounds about right, and I think is something that can come with a mechanical tweak…

      This is starting to make me wonder, if,and it’s a big if, because I haven’t watched any of Jackson’s starts this year, or know enough about pitching mechanics, but if Jackson is able to sustain this success through out this season and there is a mechanical adjustment that was made, and then you look at Kaz and his inability to find consistent mechanics, maybe there is something about Jim Hickey and his approach in working with these guys that needs to be looked at. Obviously there are a few pitchers that have flourished in Tampa Bay, and Hickey’s been the Pitching coach here, like Balfour, Al Reyes in ’07, Gary Glover in ’07, Garza, Howell since he’s in the ‘pen, but then you look at a guy Like Shawn Camp who goes from 7.20 ERA in ’07 to 4.12 ERA in ’08 with Toronto, and lowering his ’07 WHIP of 2.03 to 1.30 in ’08.

      • Amanda says:

        That’s an excellent point Joe, because I remember Jackson throwing 99-mph heaters as accuate as a Scud missle. And I like where you’re going with Hickey. Again, great point, and one that’s worth noting.

    • Sublime says:

      Amanda:

      Steve Deumig was off when he mentioned Edwin’s Fastball. His fastball was more what Cork wrote in the article, about 95mph, he was never a 91-92 mph fastball pitcher. Joel Magrane said it best during a game I was watching, a 93-94 mph from Edwin was better than a 97-98 mph due to his accuracy at the time.

      In the ALCS, when he came in versus Boston, he was throwing 98-99 mph. Like Joe D was saying, I think it may possibly raise questions about Hickey and his pitching system.

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