[picappgallerysingle id="3232705"][picappgallerysingle id="8987881"]Juan Pierre may have led the American League in stolen bases, but right-hander Edwin Jackson earns the award, such as it’s worth, as top Chicago White Sox newcomer of 2010.
We’re going to get away from the typical year-end lists to simply name the best-performing new arrival of last season with the greatest potential for the future. And while Pierre’s speed at leadoff will be vital as the lineup slows up due to Adam Dunn’s arrival, arms like Jackson’s don’t come around all that often. Amazingly, Jackson migrated through four organizations before general manager Kenny Williams landed him from the Arizona Diamondbacks just before the July 31 trade deadline.
Jackson probably threw the most flawed no-hitter in history for Arizona with eight walks amid his 149 pitches. He gave up 141 hits and 60 walks in 134 1/3 innings for a whopping WHIP of 1.496 in Arizona. But Don Cooper turned out to be just the right pitching coach for Jackson when he came to the South Side. Correcting a mechanical flaw working with Cooper, Jackson walked just 18 in 75 Sox innings while striking out 77. Except for a few less stellar starts near season’s end, he was superb for Chicago, and should be even better in a full season with Cooper.
Another great angle was the Sox first tried to land Jackson to pass on to the Washington Nationals in a long-rumored deal for Dunn. Now they have both. And Jackson is almost as important as Dunn due to the questions surrounding Jake Peavy’s comeback and the start of the back nine of Mark Buehrle’s career. I’ll keep writing this ’till it actually happens, but Williams still needs to find a starter from somewhere as insurance if Peavy’s recovery from surgery to re-attach his “lat” muscle is slower than expected.
Jackson is in place, though, joining Gavin Floyd and John Danks as a core of young-veteran starters with great stuff. They’ll need to be the team’s centerpieces in 2011. No more growing pains. Management has given them a lineup that should give them enough runs to win.
Cooper and manager Ozzie Guillen won’t need any more drama-filled no-nos from Jackson. Just keep the walks to a minimum, and he could come up with his best season yet.