Austin Jackson is at the leadoff spot for the Detroit Tigers for two main reasons: to get on base often and to steal bases.
He’s doing OK with the first part, although he could be better. However, he’s not doing much with the second part.
Jackson’s batting average has been dropping in recent days although he did have two hits, including a home run, on Wednesday against the Chicago White Sox. He’s batting .272, which is still not that bad of an average for the leadoff spot. Ironically, he has been struggling against left-handed pitching, but he had some success against White Sox southpaws this week.
The key is for Jackson to get over the left hamstring strain which caused him to miss about a month this season. The plan entering the season was for Jackson to steal more bases than he did a year ago when he swiped 12 in 137 games.
This season, only two players in the MLB have more than 200 at-bats in the leadoff spot and have stolen less than six bases stolen: Matt Carpenter of the St. Louis Cardinals and Andrelton Simmons of the Atlanta Braves. Jackson has 294 at-bats as a leadoff hitter, but only six stolen bases.
It would behoove the Tigers to get their leadoff hitter to be stealing more bases. But obviously, Jackson has be to be feeling a lot more comfortable on the bases and that will come with time. A leadoff batter needs to be stealing more bases than Jackson has this season. That’s one way to make the offense more dangerous.