Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Beesball & Hoops: Austin Jackson

More on Austin Jackson, with quotes:

Being selected by the Yankees brought things full circle for Jackson, a four-year starter and career .410 hitter for Ryan who was first discovered as a 12-year-old by Yankees scout Mark Batchko, a former Texas Rangers bullpen catcher. Jackson was ranked by Baseball America as the No. 77 prospect in the country, but he likely dropped in the draft after signing a basketball scholarship with Georgia Tech and having his worst statistical season for Ryan this past year, although he still hit .348.

“I’m pretty excited,” Jackson said. “I’m just trying to work out a deal with them and get situated. I’m not too disappointed because I have other options. I’m just going to talk with my parents and talk about whether I should take a chance and sign or play basketball and baseball at Georgia Tech. If he [Batchko] had anything to do with it, I might have been drafted higher. But I’m not complaining. Lots of guys don’t get drafted as high as they’d like to.”

Jackson, a two-time Baseball America Player for the Ages who hit game-winning home runs in both the 2003 and 2004 Class 4A state semifinal games for Ryan, said one thing that is appealing is how depleted the Yankees’ farm system is. The Yankees are ranked 25th out of 30 teams in organizational talent by Baseball America.

“If I get down there and work hard, hopefully I can get to the pros in three or four years,” Jackson said.

Jackson said he was excited to be one of two former Ryan players taken in this year’s draft.

“I think to have two players from the same school doesn’t happen too often,” Jackson said. “I’m excited for him [Delaughter] and proud of him.”