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More Trouble for Jackson, Would Turner Be Better?

August 15th, 2014 at 6:00 AM
By Tim Duxbury

Chicago Cubs’ starter, Edwin Jackson endured another tough start yesterday against the Milwaukee Brewers, surrendering five earned runs on seven hits and four walks in 4.2 innings. The Cubs lost by a score of 6-2. Jackson was relieved by, new Cub, Jacob Turner who threw 2.1 perfect innings before handing the ball off to Kyuji Fujikawa. Given Edwin Jackson’s continued struggles and Turner’s strong debut, is it worth giving Jacob Turner Edwin Jackson’s spot in the rotation?

Player

IP

W-L

ERA

WHIP

K/BB

WAR

Jackson

136.1

6-13

5.74

1.58

121/59

-1.2

Turner

80.2

4-7

5.80

1.60

55/23

-1.1

(stats per baseball-reference.com)

You're are free to make your own judgments but, much to the chagrin of Jackson-haters, the numbers indicate that Edwin Jackson is, in fact, the better option. Edwin Jackson’s Achilles heal has been making quality pitches early in the game and early in the count, but Jacob Turner has been equally bad in these situations in 2014.

Situation

0-0

0-1

1-0

1-1

2-0

2014 cumulative

Jackson .oba

.424

.347

.448

.432

.688

.290

Turner .oba

.417

.370

.556

.419

.455

.328

(stats per ESPN.com) *.oba = opponent batting average against)

It is also important to take into account the fact that Jacob Turner has made eight appearances out of the bullpen this year so his numbers may not be directly relatable to Jackson’s, who has pitched solely as a starter in 2014. But in an attempt to make a fair comparison, Jackson’s ERA as a starter this year is 5.74 while Turner’s ERA as a starter is 5.82 (and 5.74 out of the ‘pen). Again, Jackson has been bad but Turner has been worse.

Another reason to keep Edwin Jackson in the rotation is that he hasn’t thrown out of the bullpen with any type of regularity since 2006 when he was a member of the Tampa Bay Rays and he posted a 5.22 ERA in 22 relief appearances. Turner on the other hand has been pitching out of the bullpen, almost exclusively, for the Miami Marlins since the middle of June.

The bottom line is this. No matter which side you lean towards, the outlook is not terribly promising for either of these guys in the rotation. But where Edwin Jackson has been, technically, more effective this season, the best decision is to keep him in the rotation. Moving him to the bullpen would kill any value that he has left on the trade market (either now or in the off-season) and there’s no guarantee that he would pitch any better. Plus, it’d pretty darn hard to justify paying a middle reliever $13 million per year. So for now, lets make Edwin Jackson earn that paycheck by eating innings and hope Jacob Turner finds success in the Cubs’ bullpen.

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