Austin Jackson

The 21 year old, future center fielder of the New York Yankees was recently ranked the 27th best prospect in baseball. Jackson is supposed to be ready to play at the major league level in 2010. Jackson's stats can be seen here. His '08 OBP was .354 and he had a SLG of .419. Hopefully, his patience and power will improve. Jackson hit 9 home runs this year. The brief scouting report from the 1st link says that he has "potential to have decent power at some point down the line." That's good news, but I think he means Johnny Damon power rather than A-Rod power. The report also has a quote from Mark Newman, "He is very athletic and highly motivated. He's an athlete, with tools and plus makeup who's perfroming as he moves through the system."
What I like most about AJax is his athleticism. Having all-around athletes is always a good thing. Speedy, durable, flexible, versatile athletes have a much better chance of resisting injury. Newman's quote about Jackson's motivation is encouraging as well. He seems like a guy with a great work ethic and tries to conquer each challenge put in front of him. He stole 19 bases in Trenton this past year. He isn't going to be as big of a threat on the basepaths as Brett Gardner, but he'll definitely affect the way opposing pitcher's think when he's on base. He's only 21, but has been playing proffessional baseball since 2005, so he shouldn't have much trouble adjusting to the bigs.
Jackson is the reason why I'm not a big fan of pursuing a center fielder who's signed past '09. However, if the Yanks can find a CF signed past 09 that is willing and able to make the move to left or right for the 2010 season when Matsui, Damon, and Nady all leave, then I don't mind acquiring them. With Jackson's arm and range he should definitely be playing center field, not the corners. Jackson will play his first full year at Scranton in 09, and hopefully by September we'll have a better grasp on what kind of a player he is going to be.

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