Although he’s still highly unlikely to break camp with the big club thanks to the need for some seasoning at AAA and the Chicago Cubs’ probable desire to net an additional year of control, Brett Jackson is turning heads in Mesa.
Jackson, 23, is the Cubs’ top prospect, and is expected to be a mainstay in the big team’s outfield as soon as the second half of 2012. But he’s making a push to accelerate that time line.
“We’ve all been around long enough to know where kids like that, guys that are pretty special players with speed, power, arm – the five-tool players – are ready to play,” Dale Sveum said of Jackson. “They make [for] some tough decisions down the stretch too. He’s that kind of guy. You can see it in his eyes. He’s here to impress and make this team, not to go back to the minor leagues.”
Jackson tore up the Cubs’ intrasquad games, and saw some action later in yesterday’s Spring opener. If he has his way, he’ll keep producing all Spring – but he knows that, even doing that, he might not make the Major League club right away.
“I’ve said it before, the things I can control are what I do every day,” Jackson said. “I’m not going to make the team right now, today, but every day is a piece to that puzzle and I will keep working until that day comes. And when that day comes I will keep working there.”
I have no doubt that Sveum has input on the makeup of the Cubs’ 25-man roster at the end of the Spring, and, given his praise of Jackson, he might be inclined to carry the kid. But, where there is an incremental difference between, say, someone like Marlon Byrd and Jackson, even if Sveum prefers Jackson, I doubt he starts in the bigs. I’m not even sure a Byrd trade, or an Alfonso Soriano trade, would guarantee Jackson a spot on the 25-man roster out of camp.