Monday, April 27, 2009

Just Say No to AJax (Before September)

I'll start this post with a story, whose moral should be readily apparent.

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Rebecca.

Now, Rebecca was a decent student. She excelled in English and, surprisingly (when she thinks about it so many years later) art; she was decent in Social Studies and Science, and average in math. She had a career goal of being a meteorologist, or maybe even a doctor.

When Rebecca reached the tender age of 13, some people who loved her very much thought that it would be best for her to take Algebra in the next year, eve though she was only on pace to take Algebra two years from then, the year she turned 15.

Although Rebecca argued that missing an entire year of math was probably a bad idea, the people that loved her very much wouldn't here of it, and, the next year, she was in Algebra, dealing with concepts that sailed over her head.

What happened? As you might expect, the math grades plummeted. Math went from being something she, if she didn't like, didn't mind to something she couldn't stand. Her grades went from A- to struggling to make a B-, and by the time Precalc rolled around, she struggled to make Cs. Her career goals shifted from math/science oriented to writing and history. Okay, so that's not really important here.

It was only one year of math she missed, but the consequences were forever pronounced.

See where I'm going with this?


There was an ESPN Insider quote going around that a source told Andrew Marchand that Austin Jackson could make an appearance in New York sometime this season.

Now, that actually doesn't say a whole lot.

Many believe Jackson will be a September call-up, after he's haed most of a season at AAA and thus would be primed for a 2010 debut.

Thus, no need to panic.

However, there is a contingent-alas, a growing one-that would like to see Jackson up sooner. This may have less to do with Jackson's potential (though he is the Yankees top position prospect and the only one remotely close to major league ready) than it does growing frustration with Melky Cabrera and Brett Gardner.

These people are, to put it politely, misguided.

So far, in 53 ABs, despite a high average, Jackson still has 15 strike outs. It might simply be the type of hitter Jackson is-he's always been streaky-but to bring him up now would be a disaster.

It won't take major league pitchers long to find his weakness and sit on it.

Jackson is a legitimate prospect, but it's likely that some fans automatically think he is destined for greatness without realizing that his ranking as a top prospect might have more to do with there being no one else major league ready than pure talent.

Let us not forget than in the past ten years our top prospects included CJ Henry, Drew Henson and Eric Duncan.

Now, Jackson will probably not go the way of Henry or Duncan, or abandon baseball for another sport like Henson, but there's no guarantee that he'll be great at the major league level.

With that in mind, it would make sense to give Jackson as much time to develop in AAA-where he can play every day-as possible.

People wonder why Hughes had trouble despite showing flashes of brilliance; he's never had a full year at AAA.

Jackson projects to be a major improvement over the Gardner/Cabrera platoon, even if he doesn't project to be DiMaggio or Mantle or even Bernie.

The Yankees really, really shouldn't mess with that at this point.