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Brett Jackson has 39 strikeouts in June. That’s good for a strikeout rate much closer to 50% than any prospect should have. No one can succeed when he is striking out that often. And yet … Jackson is having the best month of his year. He already has five home runs and we’ve still got a week to play. His slash line reads .291/.371/.581. That’s right, he is striking out at a horrifying pace and still has an on base percentage over .370.

This is not supposed to happen. If we ignored the strike outs Jackson would look like a guy in the middle of a breakout. He looks like a guy who could surge his way into an August call up and who could spend the final seven weeks of the season starting in the majors. But if we look at just the strike outs, he resembles something from the Hall of Baseball Horrors. It is extremely rare to find a player with an OBP that tells one story and a strikeout rate that tells another story to this degree.

In just over three weeks he will have crossed the 162 game mark, and that means we have to consider the possibility he could be called up. I’m really not sure what fans will make of him if that happens. I think his defense and his daily effort will win people over, but I’m not sure about the bat. Will Cubs fans welcome a guy for whom a good game could include two strikeouts, a double, a walk, and a stolen base? Before this season is over we may have our answer.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa – Iowa had more hits than Round Rock, but they still lost 5-2.
Tennessee – Bad weather suspended the Smokies game in the top of the third. It will be resumed from that point today (weather permitting).
Daytona – The Daytona game was postponed due to bad weather. The Cubs will play a doubleheader on Monday.
Peoria – Peoria won a wild offensive show case by a final of 12-11.
Boise – Four separate players homered as the he Hawks’ hitters carried the team to a 14-11 win.
Arizona – The Arizona Cubs had Sunday off.

Performances of the Day

  • [Iowa] Brett Jackson has now homered in three consecutive games. In addition to his eleventh long ball, he also had a walk, a strikeout, and his fourteenth stolen base.
  • [Iowa] Welington Castillo was sent to Iowa so he could play every day, and he is taking advantage of that. After his three hit performance on Sunday the catcher has a Triple A OPS of .983.
  • [Tennessee] Trey McNutt started for Tennessee. The weather cut short his game, but through the first two innings he had allowed a run on two hits and was holding a 2-1 lead.
  • [Peoria] Zeke DeVoss had two walks, a home run, three runs scored, and his 17th stolen base of the season.
  • [Peoria] After his 4 for 5 game on Sunday, Pin-Chieh Chen has a June OBP of .405 and an OPS of .881. He has stolen nine bases in the month without being caught once.
  • [Boise] Jeimer Candelario hit his fourth home run in five games, and Gioskar Amaya hit his fourth triple. Amaya, Marco Hernandez, and Shawon Dunston each hit their first homer of the season.

Other Minor League Notes

  • Currently the Tennessee Smokies are in sole possession of first place for the second half of the season. This team got hot enough at the end of the first half to bring their overall record back to the .500 mark, and I expect they will continue to be one of the better teams in their division throughout the second half. Cubs’ fans may get to enjoy some playoff baseball this season after all. Minor league playoff baseball, granted, but it is still better than nothing.
  • The Hawks had 14 hits and four walks in this game, but they still managed to leave just four players on base. That is an impressively efficient offensive performance.

Farm System Standings

AAAIowa Cubs : 32 – 45.
Pacific Coast League American Northern Division – Second Place: 14.0 Games Behind.

AATennessee Smokies : 2-1
Southern League North Division – First Place : 0.5 Games Ahead

High ADaytona Cubs : 2-1
Florida State League North Division – Second Place (tie) : 0.0 Games Ahead

Low APeoria Chiefs : 1-2
Midwest League Eastern Division – Third Place : 2.0 Games Behind

Short-Season ABoise Hawks : 4 – 6
Northwest League East Division – Second Place : 1.0 Game Behind

Rookie LeagueAZL Cubs : 3 – 1
Arizona Rookie League East – Second Place : 0.5 Game Behind

  • Leroy K.

    This is a dumb question. I know it. But, I am not a big stats man. What are the three numbers for the slash line? I know one of them is batting average. Is another OBP? Thanks guys.

    • hansman1982

      batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage

      some people use obp/slg/ops which is just dumb/redundant as you can calc OPS using the traditional triple slash.

      Using the traditional is good to see a guys ISOP (Isolated power (slg-ba)) and ISOD (isolated discipline (obp-ba) which doesn’t seem to be widely used but is useful to see a guys plate approach/abilities)

    • TC

      AVG/OBP/SLG

      and if you ever see one with a fourth number, that one is OPS.

  • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

    I don’t think there is ANY chance Brett Jackson is called up this year with his K rate so high. Don’t forget he’s not even on the 40 man roster, so there is no reason to add him yet and burn an option.

    • jr5

      The devil’s advocate position to that is that this season is a perfect chance to give young players looks at the major league level if you feel it’s best for their development. If the new front office feels like Jackson is done developing and wants to see how his game translates to the majors, he’ll be up. Burns an option, yes, but Jackson isn’t the type of guy who’s going to get sent up and sent down repeatedly. If his approach works in the majors, he’s good enough to play everyday. If it doesn’t, then he’s never going to be an everyday player anyway, so it won’t matter.

      So if they feel it’s the right time in his developmental cycle to come up, then he’ll be up.

      Edit: I left out his boyish handsomeness, a key factor that should always be mentioned.

      • Kyle

        That’s just a tautology. “If they think it’s right, they will do it.”

        Well, yes. That’s self-evident.

        But unless they are using some heretofore unheard of theory of baseball player development, they don’t think the kid striking out 35% of the time in AAA is ready.

        And you don’t burn an option by calling a guy up. Jackson’s option for the year was used up when he was sent down in spring training.

        • jr5

          Yes, but nowhere in my post will you find me saying it’s better or worse for him to stay down. I don’t feel qualified enough to argue that one way or another. Norm said he didn’t think there was any chance he came up based on that K rate. I don’t think that’s accurate, because if the front office (who didn’t draft Jackson) thinks that K rate isn’t going to improve with continued time in AAA, then they might very well bring him up to see how it plays.

          I guess what I was saying is that there’s a distinction between thinking a player is “ready” to play in the majors, and thinking that a player has maxed out his development in the minors. If they don’t feel like his strikeouts will improve with more time at AAA (or if they just feel like the k-rate won’t improve any faster at AAA) then that’s another situation where a player might come up.

          • Kyle

            Still a pointless point.

            There’s no chance they are going to make him a pitcher when he comes up. But your point still applies: “If they feel like he’d be better being a pitcher, then he will.”

        • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

          No option was burned yet because Jackson’s not on the 40 man.
          -
          By calling him up in September, they put him on the 40 man and burn an option, which means his options will run out after the 2014 season.
          Saving it for next year will give the Cubs one more year before he hits arbitration….and Jackson is looking more and more like a guy that we might not want around when arbitration comes along….so keep him down and get the extra year.

    • HeisaNerd

      First of all, Theo Epstein is a Jerk, and as far as Jackson, those stats indicate one thing

      ONE PLANE SWING

      • Drew7

        You even put answer to our debate in all caps…very thoughtful

  • TC

    Soo….

    I’m really excited about this Candelario guy.

    That is all

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      He’s really freaking raking, that’s for sure.

      • TC

        Not only that, but it’s not like he’s someone who scouts don’t like. Scouts say he should rake, and he’s raked for a week this year and all of last year.

        Combine that with the fact that he’s 18, in the States for the first time, and in a league dominated by older guys, and he’s a pretty exciting prospect.

        • Andy

          This kid will be on the top 100 prospect list next spring…Book it!

        • djriz

          And Baseball America did a short piece on him last week, and they thought he would have been a 1st round pick in this years draft. So good news there.

          Does anyone know his story? He was born in New York, grew up in New York, but I have the impression he did something (move to Dominican Rep?) to sign before he would have been eligible to in the US. Disciplinary stuff? Just a Baseball hound? Somebody? Anybody?

    • Leroy K.

      Hopefully he can keep it going.

  • Earl Cunningham

    BA/OBP/SLG

  • Leroy K.

    Thanks everyone! I don’t feel so dumb anymore!

  • Smacky

    If he’s striking out that much in the minors, could you imagine how many more times he’d K in the majors? They need to fill the hole in his bat before he’s up at Wrigley. Veterans in their prime find it hard to play there, much less a free swinging rookie.

    • Leroy K.

      Sosa had quite a few problems when he first got to Wrigley, He started off very slow. Maybe we give Jackson a Tennis racquet until he gets his swing down. :)

    • Scotti

      Jackson is anything but a free-swinger. You would be hard pressed to find a Cub who takes more pitches.

  • Kyle

    Jackson has a nearly .500 BABIP in June. That’d explain it. Everything he’s made contact on has fallen.

    • Ron Swanson

      There you go. When it seems too good to be true….

    • chirogerg

      Or he swings and hits the ball so hard that the infielders can never get to it. Jackson is known for swinging out of his shoes and making hard contact. The harder you hit the ball, the more likely it gets through, especially with his line-drive swing. Plus, because of his strikeout rate, the sample of balls in play is smaller.

  • The Dude Abides

    Jim Edmonds hopefully??? May as well find out, what will we be missing we are losing 100+ and if he is going to have a learning curve may as well be now. This team is off the tracks (by design) and what difference does it make remember the tigers lost well over 100 games and were in the playoffs a few years later.

  • Drew7

    Ive been punishing myself by looking at Iowa’s box score everyday hoping to see no K’s from Jackson. Thats happened a whole 1 time in the last 3 weeks i think

  • elizarudi15

    He’s not ready to come up yet. I’d even give him one more year in AAA, but the potential is definitely there. With his work ethic, he’ll make it.

  • farmerjon

    Is there any way to find out if he’s striking out swinging or looking? Is he being fooled or is he trying to take pitches? Does it matter?

    • Kyle

      minorleaguecentral.com has that stuff (and some other interesting stuff too for minor leaguers).

      Jackson’s K’s have been 81 swinging, 22 looking, 2 unknown to the site.

      He’s got a major problem with being able to hit advanced pitching. If the jump from AA to AAA is giving him this much of a problem, I shudder to imagine what the jump to MLB will do.

  • dabynsky

    A lot of the “breakout” for Brett Jackson this month is driven by a completely unsustainable .476 BABIP.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Don’t lose the forest for the trees – guys go through huge BABIP months all the time. That’s just part of their overall performance. It doesn’t mean he’s not having a really good month.

      The Ks remain a gigantic concern, obviously.

      • dabynsky

        Of course he is having a good month, but that is the main difference between his May and June performance.

      • Kyle

        I guess it depends on what you mean by “good.”

        If by “good” you mean he’s helped the Iowa Cubs win games, then sure, a high BABIP, massive-K month can be good.

        If by “good” you mean has improved or maintained his MLB projection, then I don’t consider that a good month at all.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          He’s got more extra base hits (including more homers) in June than he did in either of April or May. He has more walks in June than he had in May. To suggest that the only things that matter about his June performance are his Ks and his BAPIP would be a mistake.

          Those things matter, but it’s a much larger narrative than you’re making it.

          • Kyle

            I don’t know if I’d say “only thing that matters,” but I’d say they are such an overwhelmingly bad sign that they drown out everything else.

            I’ll keep asking until I get one: Who are the guys who struck out 33% of the time in the high minors who went on to be productive major league players?

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              That, to me, is a separate discussion. A very legitimate one – and I’ve shared your concerns about Jackson’s K rate. As it stands, I can’t see him having a productive career in the bigs unless serious adjustments are forthcoming.

              But, while we await those adjustments – and it’s not like we haven’t already discussed the atrociousness of the K rate in June, in particular – it’s interesting to note that he’s still taking a lot of walks, and, when he hits the ball, right now he’s hitting it with authority. It would be something else entirely if he was K’ing 35% of the time, not walking, and slugging .300.

      • Ron Swanson

        I hear you Brett but the BABIP will level back out and the strikeouts will probably remain about the same. In my mind, that is why it’s concerning even though I agree he’s having a great month.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          I know why an elevated BABIP matters. I’m saying simply that ignoring everything else is a mistake.

          • Drew7

            I think simply using BABIP doesnt tell the entire story. Really, if a hitter has shown the ability to hit XBH at the rate BJax does, we should be looking at singles rates, since they produce most of the fluctuation; BABIP is already taking HR out of the equation, but Jackson also has 16 2B and 9 3B.

            Most XBH are Line-drives, which produce a very high BABIP. If Jackson consistantly produces a high XBH-rate, that, along with his speed, will naturally produce a high BABIP.

            Now, I havent checked so this may not be the case here. But without looking, we cant just throw this in the same boat as a couple Barney GB’s dribbling through…

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              These are interesting thoughts. To extend it a bit further, it isn’t *impossible* – it’s unlikely, but it isn’t *impossible* – that there could be a plate-approach-based connection between a high BABIP, a high K rate, and a high volume of extra base hits. Namely: he’s swinging as hard as he can. In theory, that could lead to more strikeouts, but also more line drives.

              I’m not saying it’s a good thing, or that it’s actually happening, but it’s interesting to think about.

              • Drew7

                I’m with you there, but I really think its a product of the “selectively-aggressive” approach, and not necessarily swinging harder.

                Once you get to the level these guys are at, swing mechanics have long since became muscle memory. So, couple that fact with a “S-A” approach and Jackson’s (surely known to him as well) below average ability to make contact, and I’d imagine his thought process would be something like:

                “Not swinging until the pitch is in my “trigger-zone”, even if I take a couple strikes. When it gets in that zone, Im gonna mash the piss out of it. If it never comes, I’ll walk or try to foul pitches off if they’re close”

                I have no problem with that. As long as the swing-mechanics are maintained, swing with everything you’ve got.

                This all plays into what Norm and Crockett have said before: there are major holes in his swing. If a pitch is in his trigger-zone that he knows  he can mash, mash he does. When its not, he’s in a world of hurt.

              • Kyle

                There’s actually a lot to this. Brett Jackson’s always going to be a high BABIP guy. He’s been one all the way through the minors.

                But “high BABIP” in the long run will mean something like .350 in the minors and .330 in the majors, not the .380 he’s been putting up in AAA.

            • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

              But this is against AAA pitching. He’s not going to keep hitting with the same authority in the majors. Most of the pitching he sees right now is worse than the worst big leaguers he’ll see when he’s up.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          The strikeouts are not likely to remain over 40%.  We do have a baseline on Jackson’s strikeout rate from his time in Iowa last season (29.8%) and I strongly suspect that his K% will return to that level.  His June percentage is too far off of that for me to think it is his new norm.

  • James

    The Ks are a HUGE concern. He’s gonna be 24 in August and his K rate is getting WORSE, not better. That’s a problem. At this point, I’m not sure that’s ever going to change with him. Kind of who he is. You can only imagine how much worse it would be against big league pitching.

  • kirby

    Any chance he is pressing w/ Rizzo supplanting him as the new wonderboy of the organization? Last year was better but still a rate of 32%…boy, he sure is the epitome of “toolsy”…I was actually most impressed with his arm, even though it is considered “average” by scouts…it was a laser the times I have watched.

  • Brandon – AA Correspondent

    It’s a little too early to start booking the Smokies in the 2012 playoffs. I wish they would have won the 1st half to get their “ticket punched” but a terrible start could not be overcome with a final 2 week surge in the 1st half. But on a positive note, morale is high and the boys have their swagger back. Although the Smokies have been lucky enough to make the playoffs the past 3 seasons (and zero Southern League Championships), I suspect our team is about to get blown up when the vacuum in Chicago gets turned on. I believe there will be several callups from AAA requiring a rcorresponding move to fill the spots in AAA with our boys from AA. While I hope that does not happen, I suspect it will. These guys are finally starting to gel, as many of the Daytona boys have finally adapted to the jump to AA. I believe it would be in their best interests to stay a full year in AA…..but again, that may not be likely as the decisions from the front office are going to create some movement.

    Confidence is key, and I believe the development of these guys will be hampered with a callup to AAA that is too early. My two cents for guys that probably are ready for the AAA call up: Adduci, Lake and perhaps Samson. Losing Lake is probably a good thing. He feels he is too good for AA (can you say cocky??), and I actually like the defense of Elliott Soto much better. Replacing Lake’s offense will be difficult, but if Adduci goes to AAA, I believe the team would finally commit to playing Michael Burgess every day (which would be a good thing). Jae-Hoon Ha has underachieved this season (so far) but if he can return to form (which I believe he will) the offense can recover form the loss of Lake and Adduci. Nelson Perez is up from Daytona, and based on what he was doing in A ball, and his spurts of power last season I am bullish on him. They key for Nelson is to keep his eyes on the game, and NOT on the southern belles in the stands. He is so funny to watch……always checking out the cleat chasers in the stands. The other position players are still pretty young, and could benefit with a longer stay. An infield of Cerda, Soto, Watkins and Bour, while short of power (save Bour) would be pretty good defensively (save Bour). An outfield of Burgess, Ha and Perez sounds pretty good to me too.

    On the pitching side, I believe the bullpen has been outstanding, and you could easily make a case for Rhoderick and Batista (again) going to AAA. Selfishly though, I believe they form a devestating 8th and 9th inning combo. This has given our starts confidence and shortened the games. Not sure we have the guys in the pen to replace those above to close games. Cabrera and Hatley would be choice # 1 and 1a if K-Rod and Batista bolt. Weathers appers to be healthy again, and as a former 1st rounder, may need to step up his game to move up the depth chart.

    That’s all for now…..Smokies return home tomorrow where the weather will be HOT and the ball will (hopefully) be flying!!

  • Jason “Thundermug”

    Brett Do you think that Jeimer Candelario could have a chance to play in Peoria this season ? He is doing really good in Boise

    • MichiganGoat

      FYI, he is being discussed over on the message board.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      There’s a chance he could see a little time there at the very end of the year.

  • willis

    B-Jax is a fine looking dude. Especially up close. God gifted him.

    • terencem

      It’s those curly blonde locks.

  • http://bleachernation.com #1lahairfan

    lower the strikeouts please

  • Idaho Razorback

    I will be going to tonites Boise game at Spokane. I will be dead tired as I work graveyard and usually don’t go to bed until noon. Hopefully I’ll be alert enough. I’m pounding the Natty Ice’s right now and bought 3 Natty Daddy’s when I got off work. I will file the report in Luke’s minor league coverage for tomorrow.

  • Carew

    Oh man i hope the ICubs go on a tear and make the championship so i can watch them play.

    Random and early to say I know, but still.

  • Deez

    Being a 20HRs/20SBs/200Ks guy is not a good look.
    If his power number was closer to 30 or 35HRs + driving in 85 to 90 runs, you could justify the Ks, but he’s not a middle of the order guy.
    I see us selling high on Jackson, whenever the opportunity presents itself.

  • AB

    I’m mildly intrigued by Brooks Raley. I believe he was a two-sport athlete and played primarily OF in college. I wonder if the improvement in his numbers is because of his stuff and approach maturing, because he’s probably been behind on the development curve compared to most college pitchers in his draft class for the majority of his pro career.

  • Jason “Thundermug”

    Josh Vitters is red hot. Just hit another homerun I believe if he keeps it up he should be the next guy called up after Rizzo.

  • James

    anyone else think that Jackson is another Corey Patterson in waiting?

    Also I agree with Deez, I wouldn’t be surprised to see us selling high on Jackson

    • TWC

      “anyone else think that Jackson is another Corey Patterson in waiting?”

      We should be so lucky.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Batter A: 4499 PAs, 206 walks.  Batter B: 1658 PAs 209 walks.

      I’d say that Batter B is not Batter A in waiting, regardless of whatever else he might be.

  • Cubs Dude

    Is it possible for Brett Jackson’s name to get brought up without people talking of how terrible his k rate is, and how bad he will be once he’s in the majors? First off when people say no player has ever has ever had success with his k rate to date, ok you made your point… Over and Over and Over… We get it. We’re not even half way thru the year. Let the year play out and then judge Brett if he continues to K at this pace. There is some of us that still have hope for that dude.

    • TWC

      You know Brett Jackson’s strikeout rate is terrible, right?

      • Cubs Dude

        What?? I had no idea… That is the first I have heard of that. I wonder if any player has been successful in the majors with his k rate?? Just kidding bro..

        • TWC

          You know, speaking of K rates, have you seen Brett Jackson’s lately?  WOW!

    • Jp

      Nope. A 50% K rate in June (almost the whole month) shows a major flaw in his swing. He needs to pull a Tom Selleck and go to Japan and learn to hit the Shuuto pitch. It’s apparently a real pitch because they’re throwing it to him a lot this month. I don’t want to hear he’s nervous because he thinks he is on the verge of a promotion, what’s going to happen when he’s playing in a playoff game in the future. I don’t think he’s nervous I just think something isn’t right but I’m not a pro scout obviously… He needs to learn to hit the SHUUTO!

      • Cubs Dude

        Well I thought it was at least worth a try! Everyone but me can go back to thinking he is the second coming of Ted Lilly (with a worse k rate) at the plate.

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