Austin Jackson on a Fast Track to Rookie of the Year...or Is He?

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Austin Jackson on a Fast Track to Rookie of the Year...or Is He?
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Let me preface this by saying that I am not Nostradamus. I cannot predict the future and will never claim to be able to.

Now that we have that out of the way I can tell you that Austin Jackson will not win Rookie of the Year.

So far in 2010, Jackson has put together a very impressive resume. In 30 games, he has scored 26 runs and stolen six bases while sporting a fancy triple-slash line of .371/.420/.508. Not too bad considering he is currently head and shoulders above any rookie in the American League right now.

So why am I so against Jackson for the rest of 2010?

Well, his .511 BABIP is 103 points higher than the second place hitter. Historically, there have been 17 players that have recorded a BABIP of .400 or better since 1913 and a vast majority of them are either in the Hall of Fame or very close to it.

The reason for Jackson’s high BABIP  is of course his ridiculously high line-drive percentage (39.1), which is seven points higher than the second place Joe Mauer ’s (32.1).

FanGraphs.com only has data for LD percentage as far back as 2002, so I took a look at the league leaders in every season and here is what I came up with:

Jason Bartlett 26 percent (2009), Andre Ethier 26.6 percent (2008), Michael Young 27.2 percent (2007), Freddy Sanchez 27.5 percent (2006), Placido Polanco 28.2 percent (2005), Michael Young 25.2 percent (2004), Mark Loretta 30.7 percent (2003) and Todd Helton 29 percent (2002).

You will notice that the highest number recorded since 2002 was 30.7, which is significantly lower than Jackson’s mark this season. You can imagine that once he starts hitting fewer line drives his batting average will fall back down to earth. He currently is hitting .778 on line drives (not too abnormal) and a very high .429 on grounders.

All of these numbers point to a second-half slump because once the numbers start regressing towards the mean (and they always do) he will struggle mightily to get on base. He currently sports a 7.7 percent BB percentage and 28.0 percent K percentage and I would not be shocked if he ended up hitting under .300 for the season when it is all said and done.

Other rookies that will challenge Jackson for 2010 Rookie of the Year are Justin Smoak , Carlos Santana , Brett Wallace , Brian Matusz , and Wade Davis .

Who do you think will win the award?

For the original article and more up-to-date fantasy news and analysis visit us at Baseball Professor and follow us @BaseballProf .

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