Tigers leadoff man Austin Jackson is hitting just .157 and has just one multi-hit game this season (B. Calloway photo)

In baseball slumps are inevitable for hitters.

Failure is natural and the best hitters in the business succeed only 3 out of every 10 at-bats.

All-Star outfielder Carl Crawford is off to a slow start with a .149 batting average for the Red Sox

With the season almost a month old, many players with strong track records have gotten off to slow starts this season. Boston left fielder Carl Crawford, one of the biggest offseason acquisitions in baseball, is batting just .149. Big-time prospect and one of the National League’s top rookies last season, Atlanta’s Jason Heyward, is off to a .190 start. Adam Dunn, a key offseason pickup by the White Sox and a former National League All-Star is hitting .175. Derrek Lee, a career .282 hitter, is just batting .206 in his first season with the Orioles.

With quite a few big name players struggling, that is why there isn’t a reason to be overly concerned about Tigers center fielder Austin Jackson’s struggles at the plate this season. Jackson, who was batting above .300 for a majority of his rookie season, finished his first full season in the majors with a .293 average and was a runner-up in the AL rookie of the year voting last season. This year he is off to a .157 start and has just one multi-hit game through the season’s first three weeks.

Slumps are often magnified when they come at the beginning of the season. In Dunn and Lee’s cases, switching over to the American League for the first time in their careers could have something to do with their early season struggles. Heyward and Jackson could have a case of early sophomore slumps after experiencing high levels of success in their rookie seasons.

In Jackson’s case, some sort of dip in production could have been expected considering he led all of the majors with a .396 batting average with balls batted in play as a rookie last year. Jackson hasn’t had nearly as much luck this season and there have been a few instances, including one in Wednesday’s win over Seattle, that he was robbed of a hit. His swings have looked better and it is only a matter of time before he will start stringing together some hits.

For now, there really isn’t any reason to panic on Jackson. Everyone goes through slumps at some point in time and his first struggles in the majors happen to be taking place right now.

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