Chicago Cubs: 7 Ways Brett Jackson Impressed in Spring Training
The Brett Jackson train is full steam ahead, as the arrival of the outfielder seems imminent this season.
He'll start the year in Triple-A, but it won't be long before Jackson receives the phone call he's been waiting for his whole life: the one to the major leagues.
Here are seven ways Jackson impressed the Cubs and put pressure on the organization to make room for the prospect.
On Base Percentage
Jackson has never posted an OBP below .400.
Spring training was no different.
Jackson recorded a .400 OBP for the spring, showing his continued ability to reach base. A negative to Jackson's game has always been his aggressive swing that results in strike outs. Jackson struck out 10 times this spring.
But put that with a high OBP and the Cubs can deal with the strike outs, especially potentially hitting in front of Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo for years to come.
Jackson runs well too. In fact, he's got all five tools. He puts pressure on defenses with his speed on the base paths, which is something the Cubs have lacked since Juan Pierre.
He won't take every extra base as Pierre did but any extra base taken is a good thing.
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
With a starting outfield of Alfonso Soriano, Marlon Byrd and David DeJesus, there currently isn't room for Jackson.
But one positive is that he's fully capable of playing any of the outfield spots.
You never wish injury upon anyone, but if one were to happen to any of the aforementioned Cubs, Jackson could fill in immediately without missing a step.
DeJesus isn't going anywhere, but Byrd and Soriano are brought up in trade rumors often. Byrd is the more realistic option at this point, leaving Jackson's natural position of center field open.
The Cubs may choose to go with a stop-gap type player such as Tony Campana or Reed Johnson for the short term, but even then, Jackson could fill in as a corner outfielder if needed.
His athleticism and arm strength are best suited for center field, but they translate to left and right field as well.
Major League Ready
Prospects typically enter spring training raw and leave knowing the things to work on in order to get called up.
For Jackson, maybe the only thing he can do is steal Theo Epstein's cell phone and text the Atlanta Braves "Accept."
Jackson has always been a highly touted prospect, but by the sounds of it, he may be even better than expected.
Overall, Jackson has all the tools to succeed in the big leagues.
He has the arm strength and glove to play above-average defense in center field. He boasts 20-20 potential in home runs and stolen bases, while hitting around .300.
Sveum once again sang his praises to ESPN.
”He brings so much to the table” Sveum said. ”In my nine years of coaching he is the best young player I’ve seen in a major league camp. He is the full package. The swinging and missing, he has to work on and cutting down strikeouts. He just brings a lot to the table.”
This spring he showed glimpses of what he brings to the table.
Jackson hit .276 with two home runs and a stolen base. He also recorded a double and triple among his eight hits.
A five-tool player is a tough reputation to live up to (see Corey Patterson or Felix Pie). But Jackson has yet to show any signs that the reputation is unfair or unexpected.
Jackson turned into a fan favorite without stepping foot out of the Wrigley Field dugout as a member of the Chicago Cubs.
Because of the promising spring that Jackson put together, water cooler talk is spent on figuring out who to get rid of and how long will it take for him to make his presence felt in the majors.
It may only take one Marlon Byrd strikeout before "JACK-SON" screams echo from the bleachers.
If the future of the organization is planned around Jackson and other young players—Castro and Anthony Rizzo—then you want the player to be appreciated on and off the field. The fans have already done that and more in showing their anxiousness for his arrival.
Yahoo! Sports says that Jackson impressed the Cubs not only with his discipline at the plate but his discipline off the field as well.
Jackson more often than not was found at the training facilities this spring, focused on his training program and getting better. It's that type of work ethic that Epstein envisions as the "Cubs Way."
That work ethic can only have a positive impact on teammates. The more that the players can learn and work with each other, the less talking that Sveum has to do. If your manager is the only one policing the clubhouse, problems will arise.
Managers can't always be there. Players like Jackson can instill the proper effort needed to reach sustained success.
Here is a guy that has been a top prospect his whole Cubs career, yet is working harder than everyone else to make sure he reaches that potential. That bodes well for those worried about a potential bust.
Randy Wells expressed his displeasure with the decision to option him to Triple-A instead of starting the season in the majors.
I'm sure Jackson thought he should be on the roster as much as Wells did, but you didn't hear a peep from his corner. Instead, he's focused on the bigger picture.
"The goal is to make the team but the ultimate goal is to be part of something special in Chicago," Jackson told the Chicago Tribune in January. "And I'll do everything in my power to prove I'm capable of it."
At the same time, Jackson is fully confident in his talents.
"I think I'm big league ready and…I'm 100 percent confident in my abilities," he said in the same article.
Those are the kind of thoughts that need to be spread throughout the organization. Strong individual belief in one's talent, but at the same time knowing what the ultimate goal and realizing one's role.
Jackson isn't checking box scores after games. He's checking the scoreboard. And the sooner he's with the Cubs, the sooner white flags will be raised above Wrigley's scoreboard on a regular bases.