Edwin Jackson says that his outing this week against the White Sox was his best start with the Cubs (Cubs.com), and I’d have to agree. That got me thinking about having some fun with his early-season numbers, much in the way we’ve had some fun with the big offensive performances so far this year. Will it work for a pitcher?
Let’s find out …
- In the game, Edwin Jackson threw seven innings, allowing one earned run on six hits and no walks. He struck out nine. That’s just a great start right there.
- Heading into the game, Edwin Jackson was sporting a 5.24 ERA. After the game, even though it was a 1 ER game, his ERA still dropped all the way to 4.57.
- Jackson’s FIP, which was already decent at 3.64, dropped precipitously to 3.18. That’s good for 21st in the National League, just behind Johnny Cueto and Madison Bumgarner.
- Jackson’s xFIP dropped from 4.47 to 3.99, which is still tied for 12th worst among qualifying starters in the NL, but, before the game, he was third worst. (xFIP adjusts for expected home run rates, and, since Jackson hasn’t really given up any homers this year, he gets dinged, because there’s expected regression there.)
- Jackson’s walk rate had become a real problem for him this year, ballooning to 11.2% entering the start. Seven innings without a walk? Dropped it all the way under 10% – it sits now at an elevated, but much more reasonable, 9.6%.
- Similarly, his strikeout rate – 17.1% before the game – shot up thanks to those nine Ks in seven innings, and is now 19.7%. That’s high enough that he’s surpassed it only twice in his career.
- Obviously, then, his K/BB ratio went up a great deal (because both sides of the coin improved), from an ugly 1.53 to a more-career-normal-like 2.06.
- Jackson nearly doubled his accumulated season WAR total so far (SMALL SAMPLE WARNING IN THE EXTREME) from 0.4 wins to 0.7 wins.
- Get this, though: because of all the strikeouts and those six hits, his already unreasonably high BABIP against (.340) actually increased to .344. His career mark is just over .300, so it’s possible he’ll see some further positive regression from here. (Howeva, his elevated Line Drive rate also increased in the game, from 26.9% to 28.3% – in other words, that elevated BABIP isn’t all just bad luck from dinkers and dribblers finding green.)
- All in all, it’s a huge improvement in Jackson’s stats, all from one May start. Hopefully we get to do this again in five days.