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Austin Jackson goes the distance

Posted by: Peter Abraham - Posted in Misc on Feb 18, 2009 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

And now for something other than steroids …

Had a nice chat with Austin Jackson. After playing in the Arizona Fall League, he took a month off and then moved to Pensacola, Fla., to train at the Athletes’ Performance Institute in Gulf Breeze.

The facility is affiliated with Dr. James Andrews. It’s where Manny Ramirez has been working out.

“I got stronger, faster and cut down on my body fat,” Jackson said. “I was there for about a month and a half. It was a great experience.”

Jackson just turned 22 and seems determined to make this a big season. The Yankees want him to play at AAA and that is smart. It would be senseless to jump him from AA to the majors.

You have to give Jackson credit for playing in Arizona and then spending six weeks in Florida getting himself ready for the season. Jackson is one of my favorite prospects and it would not surprise if the coming season is when he really breaks out.

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58 Responses to “Austin Jackson goes the distance”

  1. Chris February 18th, 2009 at 9:55 am

    I like A-Jax. From everything that has been reported by Mike Ashmore, A-Jax always came up with the big hits last year in Trenton. He seems to have a little something special to his game – or as some people say the “intangible.” He’s still only in his early 20s so I would be very patient and no need to rush him. And if he makes the mlb next year – let him go through a season or two of adjustments. I think at the very least he could be an Adam Jones type player in CF or LF.

  2. RonH February 18th, 2009 at 9:55 am

    Looking forward to seeing a lot of Jackson and the other up and coming stars at SWB this year!

  3. Han Ram February 18th, 2009 at 9:56 am

    My favorite prospect by far, can’t wait to watch him glide to the ball in CF

  4. JoeyA February 18th, 2009 at 9:58 am

    Our AAA team is slated for a big season.

    I know it means virtually nothing to most people, but it’s got to be the next best thing to making the big show.

    Perfect timing: A-Jax should be ready for next season, when we lose our entire outfield

  5. Ham Fighters February 18th, 2009 at 10:02 am

    PSYCHED for ajax!

    there’s a pennant-race callup out there for ajax to shoot for!

  6. jennifer February 18th, 2009 at 10:07 am

    My guess if he does well at AAA we may very well see him after the All Star break.

  7. DocBooch February 18th, 2009 at 10:07 am

    5 tool centerfielder, just what the Yanks need. I’m excited to see this guy. Anybody know what player he most resembles? I remember Bernie coming up was taughted pretty good but no one though he could hit well or steal bases. We all know how that turned out.

  8. Tl1125 February 18th, 2009 at 10:08 am

    I really hope that this kid is not being over hyped right now. Although he looks like a great player, there seems to be no over whelming interest from baseball people outside of the Yankees orgnization for him. I can’t remember at what number he was ranked, but it was as high as where he should had been according to what I hear.

  9. Cam February 18th, 2009 at 10:08 am

    I hope this all works out for him. It’ll be awesome to see some home grown talent surrounded by Teix and A-Rod for the next 10 years. Pete, maybe you should arrange an A-Jax trip to Scranton this year!

  10. Tseng February 18th, 2009 at 10:09 am

    Swisher, Jackson, and a player to be named later in the outfield for next season. For the first time in ages our DH slot will be open…. unless Cashman is assassinated and Hank decides to sign Barry Bonds.

  11. A-rods cousin February 18th, 2009 at 10:10 am

    I have read a lot about A-jax. I have never seen what his projected major league production would be. I a best case scenario who would he compare to as a major leaguer? I think that he doesnt compare well to the upper eschelon of CF’ers, like Sizemore, Beltran,Vernon Wells and Upton, etc. My question is, can he be a David DeJesus/Torri Hunter type player?

  12. Noreaster February 18th, 2009 at 10:10 am

    It will be interesting to see how A-Jax handles AAA pitching and the inevitable September call up. He should put some pressure on Melky and Brett to put up solid numbers this year. (Lets hope so!)

  13. Mark in Tampa February 18th, 2009 at 10:12 am

    Can the Yankees please tell their players and prospects to stop saying things like “I got stronger, faster, and cut down on body fat”. Just not the right thing to say right now, no matter how clean you were in doing it. Don’t say anything that could come back on you in the future. Of course Jeter always gets hammered for saying non-committal things, but it does keep him away from the embarrassing public displays.

  14. Scranton February 18th, 2009 at 10:14 am

    Scranton is going to be good this year. The rotation is stacked.

  15. Ham Fighters February 18th, 2009 at 10:16 am

    i dont know if the kid’s being overhyped but i did see him play 8 or so times in trenton and he’s got ability. im not gonna play scout though. he can cover ground in cf and he can hit and hit in pressure situations. hes gotta work on pitch selection, though. thats what i can tell you as a guy who’s been watching too much baseball for 45 years.

    i dont know what the hype to potential ratio is, but the kid’s got a chance to be a major league OF’er. dont go crazy beyond that. and dont force him to advance because the yankees need him to advance, im not sure he’s on thier schedule yet.

  16. Brent February 18th, 2009 at 10:21 am

    “Can the Yankees please tell their players and prospects to stop saying things like “I got stronger, faster, and cut down on body fat””

    By taking away the ability for players to say that, you take away their ability to show improvement in the off-season. You’re right..any player can do steroids and nobody gets a free pass, but it’s still innocent until proven guilty, so if AJax wants to say he worked hard this offseason, good for him.

  17. Ham Fighters February 18th, 2009 at 10:21 am

    people who are penciling ajax in at CF next year are really jumping the gun here. he needed all of last year to look comfortable in aa (even though he slumped at the end, he continued to hit in the clutch). it may take all of next year for him to work up to aaa speed.

    then that would only make him a aaa guy when the yankees need a full time OF’er.

    expecting him to make the jump from trenton to f/t duty in the bronx is asking alot of a guy.

    he may be able to do it, but lets not set up an unrealistic expectation then end up calling the guy a flop next may.

  18. m February 18th, 2009 at 10:29 am

    Turn on the tv and it’s all Alex, all the time.

    Started with CNN Headline News. The weather guy said, “What did he say? That he knew they weren’t tic-tacs? Well, that’s because you can’t squeeze ‘em into a syringe.” That was actually pretty clever.

    Then espnews had post presser footage. Cashman with a quote that for better or worse, he’s ours and we’re going to do our best to move forward and [presumably win championships!]

    Johnny Damon, with the “Murder” answer cracked me up because he says it with a straight face. And if you didn’t know who he was, he kinda looked like a crazed killer. It was hilarious because he was serious or, deadpan, couldn’t decide.

    Then they showed Bobby Abreu in a flaming red jacket and a Halos cap. It didn’t look right. Tex looks better in Yankee blue than Bobby in Angels red. But Bobby had some really nice things to say about Alex.

    Finally, they showed Matt Holliday. “Let’s just move on, etc. etc.”

    I’ll be interested to see if any names come out and they include guys who made comments re: Alex, Andy, or Roger. What else can they do, but lie through their teeth? They can’t say, “no comment”.

  19. Tarheelyank February 18th, 2009 at 10:30 am

    There are a lot of similarities between Melky and Ajax. They have very similar minor league numbers. Melky now 24 was called up at 21, Ajax is now 21.

    I am not ready to give up on Melky, I think he is going to surprise us all year.

    I am also not ready to pencil in Ajax in CF this year or next. IMO

  20. JoeyA February 18th, 2009 at 10:30 am

    Ham-
    If this season proves that Gardner/Melky just can’t hold down CF, with the bats of Matsui/Damon/Nady leaving, we need offense.

    Does Jackson stop us from getting a proven CFer, assuming one is available?

    Or, do we give him time @ Cf in 2010 if Gardner/Melky don’t pan out?

  21. rbj February 18th, 2009 at 10:33 am

    Oooh, good. Baseball news. Yea! Nice to see that Austin is taking it seriously and working to improve himself. If he does well this year at SWB, depending on where the Yankees are, he might get a cup of coffee in September. With perhaps getting eased into CF next year. I hope Melky’s paying attention, though maybe if he rebounds he could go to a corner spot. It would be nice to have a young outfield.

    Any chance of pix today Peter?

  22. Ham Fighters February 18th, 2009 at 10:36 am

    no to me, jackson cant be depended on to be a f/t OF’er for at least 2 years. but im no scout and even scouts get suprised. but his power isnt there yet, he did sometimes throw to the wrong base, that kind of thing.

    hes far from a finished product. its not like he’s a perdue oven stuffer roaster when you leave him in the minors until the little plastic thingy pops up. he needs to work his way in. putting him on the we-need-him-now track is likely going to dissppoint people.

  23. JoeyA February 18th, 2009 at 10:40 am

    Ham-
    That’s a fine, respected opinion, but what do we do with that issue?

    If we get a CFer, you know its going to be a proven, multi year guy, especially if Gardner/Melky are disastrous in CF.

    So, that prevents A-Jax from being able to play CF for at least another 3-4 years.

    Seems like next year is $#!T or get off the pot time with A-Jax.

  24. pat February 18th, 2009 at 10:42 am

    Some I’ve read seem to think Jackson better suited for a corner so I doubt he would hold up CF plans if a trade became necessary.

  25. Ham Fighters February 18th, 2009 at 10:43 am

    i think if you just avoid no trade clauses in contracts and go about assembling an OF, everything will work itself out in the long run.

  26. Ham Fighters February 18th, 2009 at 10:46 am

    yes, that is definitly a possibility that he may have to move. and then there is a question whether he will have corner OF power.
    he’s no sure thing, but he’s got potential and some excellent atheletic ability.

    i called bernie a major leaguer the 2nd time i saw him go back on a ball at heritage park in colonie, and that was without having ever heard of the guy in my life.

    but ajax doesnt have that kind of ‘wow’ thing going on in CF. he’s good, he covers ground but you cant be sure he’s really a CF’er.

  27. Phil February 18th, 2009 at 11:51 am

    Jackson will be a CF. The questions that remain are all about how he will hit. Because he was a bigtime hoops prospect growing up he’s a little behind other prospects in the amount of baseball he has played. That said, he has shown flashes of being something special when he puts it all together, if he puts it all together.

  28. Chris Barrows February 18th, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    Back at the Scranton/Trenton game last year before the season started, Austin Jackson really showed me a positive attitude(despite having a few issues during the season).

    He is by far my favorite prospect(I loved Gardner as most people know) that’s set for AAA this year. Being lucky enough to sit in the press box in Scranton, the idea of watching Jackson play every day is more exciting than the outfielders of recent years.

    For those of you who talked about Scranton on their way to a successful year again, you’re spot on provided the injury bug doesn’t do too much damage. Still, the depth is there and this year Scranton/Wilkes-Barre is definitely built for success.

  29. beck February 18th, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    Speaking of *MANNY* I wonder if he finally admit to himself,his bad tactics in Fenway, *COST HIM BIG TIME,* to play where he really wanted?

  30. RJPinstripes February 18th, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    I sure hope A-Jax is the real deal but I agree with others here that many non-Yankee scouts etc. are NOT that high on him. I hope they are wrong and he (indeed) has a bust out year. And it’s great that he is working hard to get there.

  31. Usty February 18th, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    If you want to get really excited about A-jax. Look up his home road splits from last year. (Waterfront Park is like a PETCO of AA)

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