Today's column in the News: In praise of Austin Jackson

This is as close to a dive as I could find this morning.

Count me as the latest one to hop on the Austin Jackson bandwagon. I've enjoyed his defensive game since his rookie season, although I was obviously a bit concerned about his ability to hit as a lead-off batter last year. But one thing that you have to credit him for: He's always played great defense. He's not going to get a late break and make a spectacular diving catch. He's just going to get to every baseball hit in the air with enough time to avoid diving. Batter didn't quite get enough swing on an apparent home run ball? Sorry. You can't just drop a ball beyond the fence. Jackson's going to steal that one back and you're headed for the dugout.

Apparently sizing up Mike Trout (he of the AL-leading .346 batting average, .409 on-base percentage, .601 slugging, 20 home runs, 36 stolen bases, 10 Defensive Runs Saved and 6.9 fWAR) as the American League's MVP was a controversial statement. But it's hard to make an argument for anyone else at this point in my mind. Some people out there might be surprised in November.

Anyway, go check the column out. See what you think. Consider it a mea culpa if you want. I certainly didn't see this season at the plate coming. Then acknowledge just what an important member of the team Jackson is -- then again you probably already do.

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