Edwin Jackson’s Two Seasons

During the first half of the year Edwin Jackson looked like a different pitcher. For years his hype had preceded his performance, so much so that you began wondering whether he was ever going to figure it out, or simply burn out like Daniel Cabrera. Then the first half of 2009 happened and wham. Jackson even made his first all-star team. Well, his second half numbers have raised a new question: was Jackson of the first half simply a fluke?

Take a look at his strikeout and walk ratios independent of innings, home runs, and hits:

2006-2008: 15.3%
2009 first half: 20.0%
2009 second half: 16.6%

Unintentional BB%
2006-2008: 10.8%
2009 first half: 7.0%
2009 second half: 8.0%

Where both rates saw massive improvements in the first half, they’ve basically regressed to the mid-points of 2006-2008 and the 2009 first half over these past few months. Meanwhile, Jackson only allowed 10 home runs in 18 starts during the first half and has allowed 15 in his 12 second half starts; this in conjunction with a BABIP that was below .250 in the first half and over .310 in the second.

So it’s no surprise that Edwin’s ERA in the second half is near 4.8 while his first half ERA was 2.52. His FIP is still lower than recent years but his tRA is actually his second best since 2006 – with his best coming in 2006, and we know how the next few years turned out. Jackson has seemingly improved, but not to the degree many seemed to think during those early months.

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11 Responses to “Edwin Jackson’s Two Seasons”

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  1. Big Oil says:

    According to some reports, he was tipping his slider for a few starts or so recently. He is thought to have rectified this before starting last night.

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  2. thefume says:

    Even at 8%, that’s a decent improvement, isn’t it?

    From watching his games, the control isn’t there (it’s far worse than what the 8% walk rate suggests), which gets him into fastball counts which is where the hrs have been coming. The poor control also helps hitters lay off the slider, which has lost consistency and bite in it’s own right. He pitched 7 shutout against the Indians, but threw 55 strikes and 48 balls.

    Overall, hitters seem to be swinging at less pitches out of the zone, swinging at far less sliders, and some of the at ’em balls from early in the season are now going over the fence.

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  3. ron says:

    In tuesdays 7 shutout inning win over the indians, Jackson threw mainly fastballs, and appeared to throw 3 sliders out of 30 or so pitches. From the third inning on he threw more including a nasty slider to get an out in his last inning. The Tigers, Jackson and Rick Knapp the pitching coach will not say what adjustments he made regarding the tipping of pitches. Also few of the indians outs were hit hard. But he looked much better as the game progressed. Nothing missing from the fastball as he was throwing 96-97 and had it up to 99 a couple of times. Hoping he turned the corner and moved past the bump in the road. Also from “all” accounts, it was a very small strike zone for both teams last night.

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  4. Nick says:

    His command has been noticeably worse from the 1st half to the 2nd half, so I wouldn’t call his first half a fluke. However, he’s going to have to develop that full-season consistency in command to get to the next level as a pitcher.

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    • lookatthosetwins says:

      I think that would be an indication that the first have was a fluke. His controllable rates (K, BB, and HR) have all regressed. If it was just a BABIP thing (BABIP is part of the story) then we’d think it was just bad luck.

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      • Nick says:

        I never said it was bad luck. But, if his command is great in the first half (it was), and poor in the second half (it is), then the first half is not necessarily a fluke. Flukes are generally when players have lower ERAs than they should because of BABIP or LOB% or something that. There wasn’t much fluky about Jackson’s 1st half, because his K/BB rate and HR% all lined up with solid, #2 starter production.

        Both the good first half and bad second half are what would be expected judging by his peripherals. I understand that the first impression looking at the numbers might be to call his first half a fluke, because it was better than his previous years, but I don’t think his career numbers are all that relevant in his case, considering that he’s young, this is only his 3rd full season, and that one should reasonably expect him to improve his numbers, given his natural stuff and a normal progression of growth and maturation.

        Again, like any pitcher, it’s just a matter of command. He had great command over 100 innings of work, so he just has to make adjustments and go back to that.

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  5. Kyle says:

    He just turned 26, is 13-7 with a 3.25 ERA, and is one of the hardest throwers in baseball. This is the first season his K ratio has been decent so he’s learning how to finish guys. Sounds like a drama queen who thought Verlander was done last season.

    I agree Nick, a lil more consistency is all he needs.

    Also, how the hell can you have an all-star who still hits 100 mph on occasion and having a career year compared to a dude who will never have an ERA under 5 again. Jesus, one guys has lost his fastball, and is 48-64, the other is 38-37 for his career.

    Let’s see here, looks like their careers are basically mirroring each others’…

    Jackson Cabrera
    07 – 5.71 ERA, 5-15 07 – 5.55, 9-18
    08 – 4.42 ERA, 14-11 08 – 5.25, 8-10
    09 – 3.25 ERA, 13-7, all-star 09 – 6.34, 0-5

    Michael Bluth: Not…

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    • joser says:

      A comparison that uses stats that actually capture a pitcher’s ability (rather than muddy things up with his team’s contributions) would be a lot more enlightening. Wins and ERA may be fine for the people deciding the Cy Young but they’re not going to get you much traction around here.

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  6. Kyle says:

    They must not like spaces on here…haha.

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    • joser says:

      Uh, the mid-90s called to welcome you to HTML. Multiple spaces are combined; and in any case you might note this isn’t a monospace font so spaces wouldn’t get you the expected result anyway.

      In other news, Kurt Cobain is still dead, Seinfeld is still off to re-runs, and the Macarena is no longer performed.

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  7. Sean says:

    ya Rick Knapp said that he was tipping his slider at least for the past few starts before last nights whcih could explain those lower second half numbers

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