This past offseason the Chicago Cubs made acquiring starting pitching a priority. One of those pitchers signed was journeyman Edwin Jackson, who was given a 4 year, $52 million deal. But with Jackson’s struggles throughout the first half of the season, many are questioning whether or not the Cubs should have spent that much money on him. Let’s take a look at his stats so far this season, compared to his career numbers.
Edwin Jackson in 2013
This season, Edwin Jackson has a lackluster 3-8 record in thirteen starts. His 5.76 ERA is his worst average since his first full season as a starter with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2007. His walks per 9 innings (BB/9) ratio is the highest it has been since the 2008 season. What should be more unsettling for Cubs fans is the fact that in his seven home starts this year, he has a 1-5 record, an ERA of 6.69, and an opponents’ batting average of .318. In Jackson’s career he is 2-7 with a 7.06 ERA at Wrigley Field, and when pitching in his team’s home stadium he is 37-41 with a 4.57 ERA. If you are going to make this guy a key part of your rotation for the next four years, then you should at least make sure that he can do well in your home ballpark.
I shouldn’t let those stats get to me so much though, because Jackson has a history of getting off to not-so-great starts. His career numbers for the months of April and May? 17-34 and a 4.57 ERA. His career numbers before the All-Star break: 34-45 with a 4.43 ERA. Not very impressive.
Although a lot of this season has not been great for Jackson, it hasn’t been all bad.
His 8.92 strikeouts per 9 innings (K/9) ratio so far this year is the highest he has ever had in a season, and puts him in seventh place in the NL in that category (Jeff Samardzija tops that list with a 10.29 K/9).
Jackson has shown a great amount of improvement in his last two starts, going 2-0 against the Pittsburgh Pirates and the New York Mets. In those games he had a 1.38 ERA, gave up just two runs, limited his opponents to a .200 batting average, and struck out 10.4 batters/9.
Now those are the kind of numbers we would expect from someone making the kind of money that Jackson is getting! Those are exciting stats to see. Those are certainly All-Star caliber numbers. But should we expect that same kind of production from Edwin for the rest of the season?
In his career after the All-Star break, Jackson has a record of 39-34. But compared to his numbers before the All-Star break, there are increases in his ERA, BB/9 ratio, and opponents’ batting average. Those aren’t stats people like to see increase as the season progresses. With that said, Jackson is pretty good in the month of August, with a career record of 18-9 and a 3.15 ERA.
I think the verdict is still out on Edwin Jackson. The best that we can do right now is hope that he continues in the direction he has been on in his last couple of starts. If he stays healthy and keeps performing at this level, then many Cubs fans will be able to “forgive” his bad start and won’t be as likely to run him out of town. After all, Jackson is a likable guy.