The Atlanta Braves will be without one of their top relievers for quite a while as Luke Jackson underwent Tommy John surgery on Wednesday.
It was a shaky start to his career with the Atlanta Braves, but Luke Jackson has turned into somewhat of a folk hero among fans, which is why the news of him needing Tommy John surgery cut deep.
It was not that long ago that Luke Jackson was getting booed by Braves fans, and now he enters the game to a chant of “Luuuuuuuuuuuke,” which was great to hear when his name was announced on Opening Day.
The fanbase in Atlanta has come to love him, but unfortunately,we may have seen the last of the Friendly Neighborhood Slider-man in a Braves uniform.
He’s in his last year of arbitration and is not likely to get many big offers in the offseason coming off TJ. I hope that’s not the case for the 30-year-old righty who will turn 31 in August — he deserves his big payday.
A former first-round pick (45th overall) by the Texas Rangers in the 2010 MLB Draft out of Calvary Christian High School in Florida, he was traded to the Braves for Brady Feigl and Tyrell Jenkins.
He was certainly a hot-and-cold pitcher through his first six big leagues season, drawing the frustration of fans. Over that time he had a 4.92 ERA and 1.570 WHIP over 208.1 innings with 214 strikeouts.
Jackson was actually designated for assignment by the Braves during the 2018 season, but signed right back with the team.
In 2020 he had the worst season of his career, but then last season he was one of the best relievers in all of baseball with a 1.98 ERA, 1.162 WHIP, and 9.9 K/9.
Another year similar to those numbers and he likely would have gotten a solid contract in free agency.
Maybe Atlanta works out a deal similar to what they did with Kirby Yates, lowering his AAV for 2022 and 2023 and perhaps signing him through 2024. But it’s very possible we’ve seen him pitch his last game for the Braves.
Whatever the case may be, we certainly wish him the best and hope he has a speedy and successful recovery.