Next up on the list of San Francisco Giants season reviews is right-handed reliever Jay Jackson.
23 games, 21.2 innings, 3.74 ERA, 4.05 FIP, 1.246 WHIP, 28 strikeouts, 12 walks, 0.2 rWAR, 0.1 fWAR
I’ll always remember Jay Jackson’s brief Giants tenure for three things:
First, he was the epitome of a Farhan Zaidi move. The Giants signed him as a Minor League free agent, seeing some upside. They stashed him in AAA where he was brilliant, eventually signed him to the Majors, and when all was said and done, traded him for a small package when they realized he wasn’t part of the plans. It was so very Giantsy.
Second, his stats with the Sacramento River Cats were absurd. In 14 innings he allowed just 5 hits and 1 walk, while striking out 24 batters. You’d be forgiven for having enthusiasm when he was promoted, even if his results in the Majors never quite panned out. You’d understand if the Giants wanted to run it back with him, thinking the numbers would stabilize. You certainly see why the Atlanta Braves, fresh off a World Series win, decided to trade for him.
Third, he was the subject of some public racism and vitriol after a few rough appearances, which was one of the few ugly moments in a fabulous Giants season. Jackson received a string of vile and racist DMs through social media, as well as some in the public comments. As a white person, I certainly can’t at all relate to what it feels like to have criticism shift from what you do to who you inherently are. And as someone who is not at the very top of my craft, I can’t at all relate to what it’s like to be one of the very best in the world at what you do, only to receive copious amounts of hate for not having your best day at the office, while pitted against another one of the very best in the world at what you do.
There’s no one right way to react to that situation, and had Jackson been angry or silent that would have been entirely justified. But I’m sure most Giants fans will remember his response: reaching out to the faction of the fanbase that supported him, connecting with fans, and helping others understand the day to day impacts of racism. My guess is it opened eyes for a lot of white Giants fans who didn’t want to think about how this was the norm.
He was a good dude; a very good dude. Still is! And while he’s not quite as good a pitcher as the AAA numbers suggest, I certainly think he’s a comfortably better pitcher than the MLB numbers portray. And I’m guessing Atlanta fans will be happy with him next season.
Role in 2022
Playing the most popular game in baseball: being a former Giant on Atlanta’s roster.