Luke Jackson deserves longer late-inning leash

Why Braves fans should love Luke Jackson instead of calling for Kimbrel...

Thomas Mott
May 26, 2019 - 2:45 am
Luke Jackson

© Kelley L Cox - USA TODAY Sports

Categories: 

It is safe to say that before the season even started for the Atlanta Braves, the pitching would face a lot of criticism and scrutiny, especially if they did not perform well. As the young MLB season ages, the Braves’ bullpen has had stretches of struggles, but have also shown signs of promise. The next step for the is consistency.

Having a consistent bullpen is one of the great strengths of any team.

Thomas Mott explained why he believes the Braves are just fine with Luke Jackson “as the permanent closer of this team.” He started by pointing out that Jackson has a 3.12 ERA so far this season along with six saves, which is the most on the team by three, and 34 strikeouts. Next, Thomas brought to light an interesting stat. If you take away the blown save Jackson had against the Giants on May 21, in which he gave up three runs in the ninth, he has only given up two runs since March 31.

Thomas also mentioned that in 26 innings pitched for Jackson he only has eight walks, and only two walks since April 24.

Of the 14 pitchers in the National League with at least six saves, Luke Jackson has a better ERA than four of them, and has more strikeouts than 10. Again, if you take away that one bad game against San Francisco, Luke Jackson would have a better ERA than eight of the top 14 relievers in the National League.

Now how do all of these numbers compare to a name Braves fans have been calling for in Craig Kimbrel?

Well, Thomas compared some numbers between Jackson this year and Kimbrel at the same time last year in the same amount of games. Jackson did not have the Braves’ former closer and Rookie of the Year beat in all the categories, but he did have better numbers than Kimbrel in terms of more strikeouts, fewer home runs, and has only given up three more runs than Kimbrel did in the same amount of games last year.  

Thomas does not believe Luke Jackson is a better closer than Kimbrel right now. But he does believe that Braves fans should not be so hard on Jackson if he has a bad game here and there. And frankly, the numbers prove Jackson deserves a little bit of a longer leash now.

Related: With time, Luke Jackson should turn into dominant reliever