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« Line to Colorado | Main | Andy Pettitte Battling »

Conor's Eye for the Corner

Conor Jackson was riding high coming out of the 2008 season.  He was in his prime at age 26 and posted a .300/.376/.446 slash line, with his BA and OBP setting career highs.  Illness and injury set him back the last two seasons, however.  His .218/.313/.303 line since the start of 2009 won't impress anyone.  Now with the Oakland Athletics, a return to health might mean a return to great hitting.

There is a change in Jackson that might help him crack the starting lineup.  Through his illness, his batting eye improved.  In 2008, look where he swung and took the most:

Conor Jackson, pitch frequency on swings, 2008Conor Jackson, pitch frequency taking pitches, 2008Conor likes to swing at pitches up in the strike zone.  Although not shown here, he tends to swing at pitches that drop less than expected, and takes pitches that drop more than expected.  That remained true in 2009-2010, but he started laying off pitches on the low outside corner in the strike zone.

Conor Jackson, pitch frequency on swings, 2009-2010Conor Jackson, pitch frequency taking pitches, 2009-2010He's more willing to go after low pitches, and he's taking fewer in the zone.  Better strike zone judgment means more walks, and maybe more calls his way.

On the other hand, it could be he doesn't hit the low, outside pitch all that well, and he's better off waiting for something up higher.  We'll see.  The Athletics are big on process, and someone who takes a ball and swings at a strike should do well in their system.

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