About a week after the big trade that sent Curtis Granderson off to the Yankees, many Tigers fans still have questions and reservations about the players Detroit received in return. In the past, we've talked to our buddy jscape2000 from our SB Nation brother site Pinstripe Alley when the Tigers and Yankees cross paths on the field or transaction wire. So he volunteered to provide some thoughts on Austin Jackson and Phil Coke:
Phil Coke: As I told Halos Heaven before the ALCS: The good news is that Phil Coke has a nasty slider. The bad news is that it's a breaking ball, and anyone who throws a breaking ball 25% of the time is bound to hang one eventually (1.5 HR/9).
Despite the high homerun rate and the high profile homers he gave up in the 8th inning of Game 5 of the World Series, I still have faith that Coke can be an important part of a major league bullpen. You can't hit him (44H in 60IP), so as long as he keeps his walks down, his high strikeout rate makes him a weapon.
Austin Jackson is a very good centerfield prospect, lacking only a cannon arm of the five tools. While I didn't get to see him play this year, when I've seen him in the past he reminded me of Derek Jeter, lunging into the ball. Unlike Jeter, it apparently is leaving some big holes in his swing (123K in 132G).
Despite that, he still hit .300/.354/.405 in AAA, very productive numbers from a 22 year old centerfielder. Don't be alarmed by his lack of power - I used to live in Scranton where the Yanks' AAA team is, and that minor league park is a pitcher's park- high wall and deep alleys. In Comerica, he'll put his speed to good use.
He's got great range- he's not top flight fast, but he takes very good routes. On the basepaths, he's developed good instincts (124 SB, 35 CS, 78%).
A two-sport high schooler, he's improved at each level as his baseball intelligence builds. I would probably start him at AAA and make him the first outfielder up, but I can see a scenario where he breaks with the team out of camp.
I don't know if this affects anyone's opinion of the trade or perception of what Detroit received in return, but it's a viewpoint from someone who's seen more of Jackson and Coke than most Tigers fans. (I get the feeling the Yankees are happier with Granderson, though.)