Detroit Tigers: 5 Reasons Why Austin Jackson Will Shine in 2012

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Detroit Tigers: 5 Reasons Why Austin Jackson Will Shine in 2012

After a sophomore slump in 2011, Austin Jackson is at a crucial point in his young MLB career.

The Tigers traded more than just a center fielder away to the Yankees when fan favorite Curtis Granderson departed in a multi-player deal that landed the yet untested Jackson in Detroit and Granderson in the Bronx. 

They traded away a franchise player and many in the Motor City still miss his connection with their hearts. It's good that Tigers fans don't forget their favorites even when they are gone. But before this thing turns south and get all nostalgic, let's talk about the here and now.

Jackson can put Granderson up on a shelf with one good season. With a great season, Granderson can stay there for good.

That's why the time is now for Jackson, and that's why his performance is so crucial this season. He can't afford another sub-par year like his last.  

Jackson is a spectacular outfielder that has struggled to fit the traditional role of a leadoff man. Last season he didn't hit for the type of average (.249) one would expect from the guy who is supposed to be a team spark plug. 

Just one of many woeful statistics he collected was a .317 OBP, which was nearly 30 points lower than his rookie campaign (.345) when he also hit .293, over 40 points higher than 2011.

Of course for the Tigers, the most painful of all statistics is the fact that he struck out a league leading 170 times in 2010. In 2011, he whiffed 181 times.

You can see how the Tigers are painted in a corner. His rookie season, if nothing else, showed that he has the potential to be the type of player and leader they need. 

Can he shake his offensive liability moniker and become a complete player for the Tigers? Here's five reasons why he will.

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