Monday, June 9, 2008

Times Q&A With A-Jack

Austin Jackson may have leapfrogged Jose Tabata this year to become the top position prospect in the Yankees farm system [though Jesus Montero may soon have something to say about that]. Thus far this season A-Jack is batting .275 with 3 homeruns, 18 doubles, 37 RBI and 10 stolen bases for AA-Trenton.

Tyler Kepner of the NY Times sat down with Jackson for a brief question-and-answer session with the two sport star coming out of high school:

Q: You played two sports in high school, baseball and basketball. Now that you’ve had a chance to devote yourself to baseball, what kind of talent are you tapping into?

A: I think I’m starting to definitely become a smarter baseball player. In rookie ball, I knew how to hit, but I didn’t know how to work the count. I’d swing early in the count, maybe at a bad pitch, because I was just a ballplayer. But I’m starting to study the game a lot more, know what the pitchers have, things like that. I think I’m definitely becoming a better baseball player as opposed to just an athlete.

Q: Whether it’s you or Brett Gardner at AAA, what can your kind of speed do to change a game?

A: It can change the outcome of a game, one stolen base, getting yourself into scoring position, that puts a burden on the pitcher and the guy hitting behind you can drive in a run. It’s definitely good to have speed. It helps out in all aspects of the game. They say speed kills. It’s the one part of my game that I can rely on.

Q: If you’d stayed with basketball, do you think you could be in the NBA right now?

A: (laughs) I think I could. I’ve been checking out some of the talent in college basketball, I’ve been sizing them up. I think I’d have what it takes.

Twice this year A-Jack [his preferred nickname over A-Jax] compiled seven RBI in a single game. One of which included an important grand slam. If Jackson's 2007 second half of the season is any indicator, the Texas product could put together a pretty special year for the Thunder.

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