Pittsburgh Pirates: Debating Andre Jackson's Future Role

What should the Pirates do with Andre Jackson moving forward?
Sep 5, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Andre Jackson (41)
Sep 5, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Andre Jackson (41) / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Moving forward, what should Andre Jackson's role be with the Pittsburgh Pirates?

Since joining the Pittsburgh Pirates right-handed pitcher Andre Jackson has impressed and pitched much better than anyone could have anticipated. After previously working as a reliever, Jackson has been a starting pitcher for the Pirates and has found success. However, in his most recent start he struggled mightily against the Milwaukee Brewers.

So, moving forward, what should Jackson's role be with the Pirates?

He had previously pitched as a reliever in the majors with the Dodgers but was a starter in the minors. The main concern the Pirates should have with him is that he can't pitch deep into games. When facing the Reds on August 13th, he pitched 3.2 innings with 78 pitches. In the next start against the Twins, he struggled again, throwing 71 pitches over 4.1 innings.

However, in his last two starts, he has started to turn it around with 79 pitches in 6 innings and 86 in 5.2 innings. This was before pitching just 4.1 innings and allowing 6 runs against the Brewers on Tuesday night.

Jackson's main issue can be his control at times. In his recent start against the Brewers, he gave up 3 hits, 5 walks, and had 6 earned runs with 2 strikeouts in 4.1 innings, throwing 83 pitches, with 51 being strikes, earning a strike 61.45% of the time.

Prior to this game against the Brewers, Andre Jackson pitched 24.2 innings, only allowing 17 hits and 7 walks with 3 home runs given up and 8 earned runs in total. His ERA sat at 2.92, but after today, it soared to 4.34 in 29.0 innings. While he hasn't been walking hitters often, he's gotten pretty lucky by not giving up walks despite throwing too many balls.

The main reason he might not be able to continue as a starter, even after seeming solid, is that the Pirates have a lot of good starting pitchers. Due to injuries and being in the minors, there is an open slot for him currently.

However, with prospects like Jared Jones, Anthony Solometo, Quinn Priester, and Paul Skenes possibly fighting for a 2024 rotation spot, he has to deal with JT Brubaker, who will probably miss the start of the season but would join the race along with them for the starting spot. Additionally, pitchers like Mitch Keller and Johan Oviedo are almost guaranteed a spot. This raises questions about whether he would be able to remain a starter with the Pirates.

When the 2024 season begins Jackson will likely have a role with the Pirates. The question is will it be as a starting pitcher or out of the bullpen?

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