Austin Jackson Earning His (Pin)stripes in HWB

Kyle Galdeira

While the New York Yankees agonize over their future and enter the offseason faced with multiple personnel adjustments, the organization can rest assured that it has a promising young outfielder coming up the pipeline in Austin Jackson.


The 20-year-old native of Denton, Tex. split time in 2007 between the Charleston RiverDogs (A) and Tampa Yankees (A+) where he posted an aggregate batting average of .304 while notching 32 doubles, seven triples, 13 home runs along with 59 RBIs and 33 stolen bases. Despite the strong numbers, Jackson is using his Hawaii Winter Baseball experience as the center fielder for the Honolulu Sharks to fine-tune his approach at the plate.


Im working on my timing, and just getting down in a good position to hit, and trying to see off-speed pitches a lot better, Jackson says. Thats one thing me and (Honolulu hitting coach Torre) Tyson are working on.


Through games played on Nov. 3, Jackson ranks first in extra-base hits (17), runs scored (21), doubles (10) and triples (4). The Yankees farmhand also ranks second in RBIs (20), and stolen bases (8), and is in running for HWB postseason all-star honors.


I just wanted to come down here and get things as close to perfection as I can, Jackson says. I know nobodys perfect, but if I can just tweak some things that will make me better and carry that in to next year, I know I would have accomplished something by coming down here.


The Yankees have not set a permanent path for Jackson to follow, and the organization will wait until Spring Training to determine where and at which level he will start the year.


Im not sure where theyre going to have me, but Im looking to show them that I can play with the high-level players down here, Jackson says. Im just looking to keep progressing, and hopefully I can start out at Double-A or wherever they want me to be at.


In the meantime, Jackson will continue to hone his craft while patrolling the outfield of Waipahus Hans LOrange Park. The 6-1, 185-pound speedster marvels at the collective talent brought together in the HWB league, and hopes that his time in Hawaii will improve his standing within New Yorks pool of outfielders.


Its great, Hawaii is not a bad place to be for two months playing baseball, Jackson says. You get to see good competition, and youll see some of these pitchers and players during the season. Just (facing) the pitching has been an experience for me, Ive never seen so many pitchers with good arms.

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