General manager Mike Rizzo discussed the acquisition of right-handed starter Edwin Jackson Thursday in an afternoon teleconference. Rizzo was excited to add a veteran who is coming off a 12-win season and a World Series championship with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Rizzo and his staff noticed a big difference in results from Jackson's delivery from the wind up versus from the stretch with men on base and when the bases are empty. The Nationals believe they can take advantage of this by changing Jackson's delivery a bit.
"We feel there are certain tweaks we can make to his delivery that will make him more difficult to see," Rizzo said. "Looking at the splits between runners on base pitching from the stretch and runners not on base pitching from the wind up, his numbers are really surprising. Jackson has a .338 batting average against (.339 in 2011) from the wind up and (.239 BAA) from the stretch."
Rizzo is spot on in showing the huge discrepancy in batting average against in 2011 for Jackson when comparing men on base versus bases empty scenarios, a clear 100 point difference. Jackson's career numbers in that category are also still strong, .289 BAA with bases empty versus .259 when men are on base.
Rizzo believes they can change Jackson's delivery to help him become even more lethal and Jackson is willing to consider those alterations. That is a big deal for a veteran who has so much experience to be amenable to making adjustments so late in his career.
"We have got some ideas we have mentioned to Jackson and he is very receptive to (those ideas)," Rizzo said. "Pending a physical, we will introduce (these new ideas) to him and see if we can gradually implement them and see if it improves his command and his deceptiveness. His stuff is there and his power is there. (Jackson is) a terrific character guy and makeup guy. Another guy with a world series ring and another guy we feel really good about having on the club."