clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Morning prowl: Tale of two centerfielders

New, 50 comments

Trades are a funny thing. Much like the NFL draft is endlessly analyzed and graded immediately after the fact, you want to grade out a trade as soon as it goes down. Grading either are exercises in futility, as it could take years before you can determine true results of even one part of a much larger deal.

But there's no fun in waiting years, or even months. Being we're nearly an entire month into the season, with both the Tigers and Yankees settling in with their new glove men in center, I wanted to see what the fans in the Big Apple were saying about Detroit's former favorite son, Curtis Granderson.

Before we do that, let's take a quick look at his replacement, Austin Jackson.

Jackson has been very effective as a rookie, yet is having the most bizarre start of a career stat-wise I've ever seen. The recent blog post at Fangraphs goes into novel length detail, but a Tigers blogger/saber nailed what's up with Jackson much more succinctly. Using the stats as of Monday night, Lee Panas breaks down the unsustainable bizarreness at Tiger Tales.

The strikeouts are a concern but they would be a bigger concern if he was not also on a pace to get 219 hits. It's been feast or famine for Jackson in April. The speedy outfielder has 27 hits and 32 strikeouts in 83 at bats. So, he has had only only 24 at bats that have been not hits or strikeouts. That translates into a .500 batting average on balls in play (BABIP). If you've heard people say that a .500 BABIP is not sustainable, it's because no player has finished above .400 since Jose Hernandez had a .404 BABIP for the Brewers in 2002.

The stats, odd as they are at the moment, should all even out in the end, as I doubt Jackson will continue to be so blatantly feast or famine, all or nothing at the plate.Once the BABIP starts to drop, and it most definitely will, we have to hope the strikeouts drop as well. (Jackson's season long streak of consecutive games with a K ended in last night's loss to those damned Twins, so it's a start)

Otherwise...well, we'll know why the Yankees dealt Jackson to the Tigers to begin with.

Speaking of personable centerfielders with high K rates...

Not known to have a great deal of patience in the first place, Yankees fans are already starting to second guess giving up Jackson for Curtis Granderson. Here's what a "senior analyst" has to say at Bleacher Report.

Meanwhile, the advent of Curtis Granderson as the great center fielder the Yankees had been seeking since Bernie Williams' retirement has not gone so well.

Granderson is hitting .246, 79 points lower than Jackson.

One must wonder why Cashman was so anxious to bring Granderson in and why he was willing to give up so much.

Granderson, after all, only hit .246 last year with 141 strikeouts. He did hit 30 home runs but his OPS+ was mediocre at 100.

Jackson had been touted as the best prospect in the Yankee system for the past four years. He was obviously ready to take the big stage and has shown that in Detroit.

The grass is always greener...or something like that.

Despite the weirdness of Jackson's stats, his performance has blunted the disappointment of Granderson no longer wearing the Olde English D. That, and the fact Granderson isn't totally helpless against left handed pitching while wearing the Olde English D.

The Yankee U takes a deeper look at Granderson's struggles at the plate. Guess what they found out? Granderson still can't left left handed pitching to save his life. In fact, he's worse than ever.

The first thing that really caught my eye was the ridiculous walk and strikeout rates. His walk rate versus LHP is a paltry 4.3 and his strikeout rate is an eye-poppingly bad 38.1% (career rates of 9.5% and 23.8%).

Maybe the Tigers actually knew what they were doing when they decided Granderson was trade bait? Jackson has ably filled Granderson's glove in center, and at the plate...well, we've dissected that to no end.

lenNY's Yankees says the fans aren't booing Granderson, despite his slow start. Why?

He is hitless in his last 18 plate appearances, dropping his BA 70 points. However, he’s done a lot of the little things to keep the hometown fans from booing him, like hitting a homer in his first at-bat and a game-winner of Jonathan Papelbon. He also has two assists from center field and is yet to make an error. Best of all: we’ve heard no complaints from him for hitting seventh or eighth the majority of the season.

Essentially he's saying Granderson isn't being booed because he's a good guy. I"m STUNNED to hear that coming from a Yankees fan. STUNNED.

You'd have to believe they'd be taking absolutely no mercy on Jackson in the new Yankee Stadium if Jackson were flailing away as Granderson has been.

I know we're a long way from determining what kind of player the still very young Jackson is going to be, or if Granderson really has turned into a highly paid platoon player. But it's fun to speculate!

I'll make it a point to see where the centerfielder switch stands later in the season.