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Did you notice Travis Wood’s trimmed mane yesterday? Perhaps he was going for the reverse Samson Effect. Did it work? I guess the start was better than this last few.

  • Cubs GM Jed Hoyer and manager Dale Sveum are meeting today to discuss the team’s plan going forward, now that the trade deadline has passed. That being the case, you can expect that one of the big topics up for discussion will be the plans for AAA positional prospects Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters. The former is struggling with strikeouts, but was always expected to be in the Cubs’ second half plans in 2012. The latter wasn’t expected to be in the plans, but he’s hitting so well at AAA that he might be forcing the issue. Sveum has a particularly optimistic take on Jackson: “I don’t know if there is any so-called risk involved. Everybody’s worried about the failure part instead of the guy coming up here and maybe being a better player in the big leagues than he is in the Minor Leagues, which happens as much as the other way.” No, not really. But it does happen. What doesn’t tend to happen is guys with a 35% strikeout rate in AAA coming up to the bigs and striking out considerably less. And unless Jackson *can* strikeout considerably less, he’s going to have serious difficulty sustaining decent numbers in the bigs. He’s had almost a full year at AAA at this point, so we’ll see what happens. In Vitters’ case, that isn’t true yet. Do the Cubs call him up now so that they can evaluate him against serious big-league competition (and know if he might be a reasonable option at third next year)? Or do they wait, and give him a full year at AAA?
  • Jackson is currently hitting .258/.338/.487 with 25 steals (5 CS) and 153 Ks in 454 plate appearances. Vitters is hitting .296/.351/.502 with 16 homers. Neither set of numbers is overwhelmingly good for the PCL, and each player has an elevated BABIP (Vitters is at .330, Jackson is at .373). Jackson turned 24 today, by the way. Vitters turns 23 later this month.
  • Sveum has said, of both Jackson and Vitters, that if and when they come up, they’ve got to be every day players. That’s not an issue for Vitters, who could easily start at third base from the get-go. For Jackson, however, he is theoretically blocked in the outfield by Alfonso Soriano, David DeJesus, and Bryan LaHair. It’s possible that LaHair could be benched, but it’s far more like that, if Jackson is to come up this year, the Cubs will have to find a take for Soriano in August (speaking of which, your annual “August Trades and Stuff” post will be coming later today).
  • I’m still waiting to see someone write a thoughtful goodbye article on Geovany Soto. I haven’t had a chance yet, myself, but the guy was on the big team for four and a half years, had some great years, was a good guy, and has been with the Cubs since 2001.
  • Darwin Barney is feeling good after taking one off the noggin’ on Tuesday. “I don’t think it’s anything major,” Sveum said. “He got hit in the head and there’s some ringing in his ear, but he’s fine today. We’ll just give him [the day off] today …. We have [Thursday] off, and he’ll be ready to go on Friday.”
  • It sounds like Chris Volstad will indeed get a chance to re-enter the Cubs’ rotation. “I hope we can get out of him what he threw the other day,” Sveum said yesterday, referring to Volstad’s great final start at Iowa. “He sounded really confident about that start, and how he pitched the left-handers inside and went after everybody, and didn’t think too much about anything and just dominated the game.” Volstad is expected to start Saturday in Los Angeles.
  • Luke mentioned it in the Minor League Daily today, but it bears mentioning here as well: Rock Shoulders is in the final four of the Moniker Madness tournament (the best names in the minor leagues), and he needs your voting help. He’s got a really tough matchup, going against Caleb Bushyhead.
  • Master Dan

    Well while we’re saying good bye to Geo, we might as well say good bye to Koyie Hill. I mean Hill has been with the Cubs for like 6 years. Granted, he’s been on and off the Cubs organization this year but come on, WHERE’S THE LOVE?

    (i kid…)

  • JB88

    I haven’t seen anyone comment on this in the media, but has anyone ever seen a manager as engaged with the minor league system as Sveum seems to be with the Cubs’ system? Could Lou even have named a player in Iowa? I’m sure it is somewhat a byproduct of the lousy roster he has, but I’ve been particularly impressed with Sveum’s level of knowledge of players at least in AAA.

    • Nomar’s Left Glove

      Clearly it’s because the AAA team is much less painful to watch at times.

      • hogie

        Doubt that, Iowa is about 23 games back now. He does have a better knowledge than I remember past managers having, but I think a lot of it (his love of Jackson in particular) stems from spring training. He was much more involved and I am betting he made pretty solid scouting reports on them all.

    • Hee Seop Chode

      To be fair Lou had a different role as Manager. The 07-08 team was built to win a WS that year to inflate the team’s selling price; Sveum knows it’s all about 2 years from today, which is why he’s rooting for Iowa. The sooner there is a foundation in place, the sooner the FO compliments it with FA signings.

    • art

      lou couldn’t even some of his players.

  • CubFan Paul

    The organization’s best hitting coach is on the major league staff so it would make sense to call up BJax now so they can have 200 at bats together

    • CubFan Paul

      organization’s best hitting coach = Dale Favre

  • Mr. Gonzo

    Brett, could there be a “10 Reasons to Watch the Rest of the Season” post coming soon? While I can’t seem to rip my eyes away from this beautiful disaster, we are descending chaotically upon the event horizon of a season-ending black hole, and some other folks may tune out. Plus, it would be fun to read.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Eh. Several of the mainstream publications wrote that kind of article a few weeks ago. I’ll think about it. I tend to find them … kind of cheesy. The reasons to watch should be relatively apparent from just following along day-to-day – August trades, prospect call-ups in September, monitoring performance for 2013, seeing just how low the Cubs can sink …

      • Patrick W.

        Oh, and they play baseball. My favorite reason to watch.

        • Dan

          Nah…..

          • Mr. Gonzo

            Right on, I guess I don’t read too many mainstream pubs, nor did I google it first. That reasoning makes sense, especially if it doesn’t tickle your creative bones. Keep up the great work!

  • Master Dan

    Questions: How long does it take for a baseball player to clear waivers? How long does a team have to pass or to put a claim on a player that’s on the waiver wire?

    • dreese

      Brett did a write up last year but I dont wanna look it up so lets try my memory. I believe at most it takes a week for a player to clear waivers but it can be faster if all the teams pass on the player right away (probably like soriano will be)

      • Master Dan

        Ok, thanks. So for example, how long do the Astros have to claim or pass on Soriano once he’s put on waivers?

        • dreese

          That I dont know but I dont know lol… Brett help

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Yeah – a guy clears waivers on the third business day, if he hasn’t been claimed.

        • hansman1982

          47 hours. Every team has the same opportunity to put in a waiver claim however priority is determined at the end of the claim period.

        • stillmisskennyhubbs

          Any Astros waiver chance comes after the entire American League. Opposite league gets first crack, last to first.

          • hansman1982

            Brett, PLEASE get that post up…

          • Turn Two

            I am fairly certain the general managers in your own league get first crack. If a claim is made they try to work out a deal, if it falls through, you may put them on waivers again, but your not allowed to pull them back the second time.

      • hansman1982

        waivers last 47 hours…I’ll let Brett explain everything else in further detail.

  • 100 Years of Tears

    I really don’t see any reason NOT to bring up Jackson and Vitters if they can be played almost every day. It’s about as low pressure as it gets right now. They won’t be ruined by struggling at this level for a few weeks. And it would be nice to let them see what it’s like at the big league level. It will also give the FO (and the fans) a chance to see how they handle themselves.

    • Hee Seop Chode

      This. The no pressure thing is pretty large; no one has Rizzo expectations. I think Vitters is the more interesting decision here.

  • donnie kessinger

    Brett, I am curious if Jackson is making better contact the last month or so… is he striking out less now than say the earlier part of the year. If he is showing improvement, perhaps a call-up would be in order.
    Also, farewell to Geo… I had hoped he could have turned the corner and reached all-star status.

    • dreese

      Just checks Jacksons last ten games summary on the Iowa website and he has 17 K’s in his last ten games

  • Mike

    “I was gonna write a thoughtful goodbye to Geovany Soto, but then I got high…”

    /Afroman
    /Obligatory

  • Noah

    Keith Law and Kevin Goldstein were on the ESPN Baseball Today Podcast yesterday, and discussed both Brett Jackson and Javier Baez. They both agreed that bringing Jackson up right now is essentially guaranteed failure because he’d strike out in 40% of his plate appearances. He would not be in either of their Top 100s at this point.

    Both raved about Baez, though. They did mention his personality issues, but neither of them thought they were a big deal. He’s a guy who wants the attention on him, and sometimes that will cause him to rub people the wrong way or to do the stupid stuff a 19 year old who wants attention will do. Goldstein viewed him as having a good likelihood to be a future 70 hit/70 power guy. He said the bat was even better than he’d expected based upon what he heard from his amateur scout sources.

  • Bren

    So has the shipped sailed on Brett Jackson’s chances of being an everyday player already?

  • http://www.bleachernation.com ichabod

    brett, please explain to me how in the hell lahair blocks the cubs number 1 prospect. if hes not no. 1, then i mean one of the teams top 5 specs.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      The primary reason is that Soriano can be dealt. No sense in rushing Jackson and benching LaHair when a spot might be opened up in a week or two anyway.

      • CubFan Paul

        do You expect Soriano to dealt in a week or two?? I thought they’d wait til 2013 so that it would only be an extra $18M on the payroll compared to having an *extra* $36M on this year’s payroll.

        I say *extra* because that $36M would get the major league payroll up to around what’s usually been budgeted ($150M)

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          I’d still put it at under 50% chance. More than I thought three weeks ago, but still not “likely.”

    • Chris

      I don’t think LaHair is blocking anybody. If Jackson was hitting like Rizzo was in Iowa, they’d move LaHair to the bench, just like they moved him to the OF when Rizzo came up. The fact of the matter is, Jackson is not playing extremely well. While he shows flashes of the player we expected to see with the homeruns, defense, baserunning, etc., he’s striking out at a Corey Patterson-esque clip. There is no need to rush him to the Majors this week. if Soriano is moved, I could even make an argument that he still shouldn’t be brought up until September. Sappelt has been hitting better as of late. Different kind of player, but I’d be happy to see Sappelt or Campana get a few more starts the rest of the way. Seems like Sveum buried Campana on the bench since before Rizzo even came up, but I don’t know why. He’s probably not an every day player, but he certainly wasn’t the reason for the early losing. He has game changing speed and was ranked at the top of the league in steals as a part time player in June.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        And, for what it’s worth, I said “theoretically” blocked for a reason.

      • willis

        Campana was benched because he has no plate discipline, his defense is a liability and he basically, other than speed, has no tools to warrant any type of consistent play.

        • randy cutright

          agreed

        • Chris

          I’d rather see Campana with his “no tools but speed” than LaHair at this point of the season. He’s not an everyday player long-term, but he’s got a dimension the Cubs have never had much of, and with more playing time maybe you could turn him into a decent 4th outfielder that can leadoff occassionally. His defense is certainly better than LaHair’s. His plate discipline is no worse than LaHair’s either these days, and LaHair isn’t hitting homeruns anymore, so it’s not like he’s been such a good bat to have in the lineup. If defense is a concern, moving DeJesus back to RF and playing Campana in CF is the way to go. Campana’s speed is too game-changing not to try and use him for more than a defensive replacement and/or pinch runner in the late innings. At least on a team this bad.

          • willis

            He can’t get on base. So that eliminates his speed asset.

          • Drew7

            “I’d rather see Campana with his “no tools but speed” than LaHair at this point of the season”

            - I’m not interested in LaHair playing, but there are a few players I’d much rather see replace him than Campana.

          • willis

            And I do agree, LaHair hasn’t had a good run lately. He still brings more offensively than Campana.

            Saying that, there’s a player in AAA right now with very good speed, great defense, and a hell of a lot more offensive game than Campana. He should be on this roster, not Campana. And I’d be fine with him starting over DeJesus or LaHair at this point.

            • Frank

              Lately?

            • Chris

              Campana has a better batting average in the major leagues right now than Jackson has in AAA. The OBP for Jackson in AAA is slightly higher than Campana’s in the ML. I agree, Campana should never get in Jackson’s way to play everyday. But I don’t think it does Jackson any good to bring him up now, when he hasn’t quite figured out AAA yet. My desire to see more of Campana is simply because he’s the one in the ML right now. I have no illusions that he’s more than a 4th OF. But maybe he’s a guy that figures it out enough to hit .270 and steal 40 bases a year. I think we know what LaHair is now. We missed our chance to move him, but he’s a servicable power hitter that can play the corners and 1B. More than likely he’ll be a bench guy on good teams. As will Campana. But let’s give him 300 at bats to see where he ends up. No use in rushing Jackson when he isn’t ready to be in Chicago yet. We’ve seen that too often in the past and it never seems to work, with the exception of Castro. But clearly he’s a different kind of player than we’ve ever seen come out of the Cubs organization before.

              • TWC

                Jackson (AAA): .258/.338/.487
                Campana (ML): .261/.301/.293

                See the numbers after the batting average? Those are the ones that matter.

                • hogie

                  What might be better to note is the dip from AAA to the bigs:
                  Campana (AAA/MLB)- .330/.261 .374/.301 .420/.293

                  I am not overwhelmed by it, but I do have some concern as to what Jacksons numbers might look like.

                  • TWC

                    but I do have some concern as to what Jacksons [ML] numbers might look like.

                    Um, like, yeah.

                    • hogie

                      Yeah that was a pretty obvious statement. Thank you for you eloquence.

                      My point is that the numbers after the average do count. The OPS was pretty similar between the two at AAA, except Jackson has a major flaw in what he is doing. However I do think that Jackson’s skill set will create less of a dip in numbers.

              • Drew7

                “Campana has a better batting average in the major leagues right now than Jackson has in AAA. The OBP for Jackson in AAA is slightly higher than Campana’s in the ML”

                You gotta watch out for Campana’s batting average, which has ben held up all year by all the “sac bunts” so generously given to him by the scorekeepers. Nevertheless, his OPS is still an abysmal .594 (it hurt to even type that). He is the best definition there is for a player with an *empty* batting average.

              • Myles

                What I’ll NEVER understand is people saying “let him figure it out in AAA.” AAA shouldn’t be a place to “figure things out,” it should be a place to get some at-bats against not-quite-MLB competition to make sure they are ready to “figure it out” in the bigs. Unless a player has major confidence issues (and from all accounts Jackson does not), let him play in the majors! Learning AAA doesn’t help you because the caliber of players at that level just isn’t the same. He isn’t going to get “broken” if he struggles early, especially with the absence of pressure in Chicago.

                The history of baseball is littered with people who “figured it out” in the bigs and didn’t make the majors until late 25-26 when it was too late for them to get pre-prime PAs in the major leagues. I think it’s a mistake not to let Jackson get meaningful playing time in the majors to see what you have. There’s a better than average chance he’ll bust out, but I’d wager it’s lower than it will be if we wait for him to figure it out in AAA.

                • Myles

                  Second para should say “..figured it out” in the minors”, not majors.

                • Drew7

                  So when my daughter get into High School, and for some reason she (knock on wood) fails Algebra I. You think I should tell the school, “Look, she is really smart. Go ahead and put her in Algrebra II – We’ll never know how smart she’s gonna be until we get her to the *hard* classes. Besides, it’s not like she’s gonna get any better in Algebra I…”?

                  • Smitty

                    Sad thing is, I have actually had conversations like that with parents.

                    • Drew7

                      Ouch, that is sad…

                  • DocPeterWimsey

                    Once again, a stathead trying to ruin baseball with math…..

                    ;-)

                    • Drew7

                      Its about time, Doc. I thought you’d be all over this post the minute it went up!

                • Chris

                  Guys do figure things out in AAA all the time. Just as the do in AA or A. Otherwise, why not bring them all straight to the majors? Rizzo is a great example of this. He changed his swing and is making better contact. He put up stats last year in AAA too, but he made adjustments that have made him successful in the majors. Jackson needs to also make adjustments. He has 150 K’s in 400 at bats. He’s only batting .259. He doesn’t need to figure “it” out in AAA, he needs to figure out AAA before he goes to the majors.

          • art

            Chris, he had his chance early on and went down hill. that’s why he’s not playing. IMO.

            • Chris

              I’m asking for 300 At bats, as a suedo-regular everyday player. That’s what LaHair has gotten. What’s the harm? Neither of these guys, nor DeJesus, should block Jackson’s ability to play every day. But the FO hasn’t deemed Jackson worthy of being in Chicago yet, so let’s figure out which guys should be playing and which guys will be on the bench or on another team, go-forward. Campana isn’t a savior. I don’t expect miracles. I just think he’d be more exciting to watch than LaHair for the rest of the season. If his average drops 50 points, like LaHair’s has in the last 2 months, then you go from there.

        • art

          yesssss.

  • Mitch

    The interesting thing about Jackson is that he is a better hitter against lefties then righties. I don’t see him being much different then lahair in the strikeout walk sense. Both are about 33% but Jackson will give you better speed and defense and can obviously play everyday based on his splits mentioned above. Vitters just needs to come up so we don’t have to watch Valbuena play and based on his track record of figuring out his new level the second time around I would rather have him struggle this year and be ready for next year.

    • Drew7

      I think him hitting lefties better is kind of a fluke thing. I can’t seem to find the numbers, but I’m almost certain it has never been like that in any of his prior minor league seasons. I do believe, however, that he has always held his own against them.

      I think the biggest difference in Jackson and LaHair is going to be the BABIP:Jackson’s speed and approach (along with being LH) will allow him to sustain a much higher BABIP than LaHair’s skill set will. Brett mentioned above that both Jackson and Vitters sport high BABIP. Even though Vitters’ is much lower, his is the one that will probably regress.

      • hogie

        I certainly agree with the BABIP thought. Of Jackson’s 102 hits, 49 of them are for extra bases and I would be willing to bet there aren’t many cheap singles. He waits on a pitch he can drive, and while I haven’t seen enough of him to know, I would be willing to bet that he expands his strikezone too much when he gets a 2 strike count. I guess the answer would lie in the amount of swinging vs. looking Ks.

  • donnie kessinger

    17 K’s in the last 10 games…. perhaps he should wait until September. Thanks for good info Dreese.

    Also, if Baez can hit awesomely in the majors, I can overlook his attitude. We can call him “eccentrically misunderstood.” Maybe he is the Clint Eastwood type.

    • Turn Two

      Jackson probably needs a call-up in my opinion. I know all the numbers and everything says no. However, this is a human game. Jackson was expected to be called up with Rizzo, they were highly touted before this season and Jackson was very highly touted before last season. Now he spends both seasons in the minor leagues and the other highly touted guy got called up and is raking. Again, human element, if he does not sniff the majors this year, psychologically he will be in trouble going into next year.
      As far as Baez goes- Prima Donna’s should not work with the current management, I know Sveum would not allow it. I think that is something we should not overlook anymore.

      • Drew7

        “Now he spends both seasons in the minor leagues and the other highly touted guy got called up and is raking.”

        I see what you’re saying, but isn’t that, like, life? I mean, the guy that got promoted was crushing the ball and showing no major flaws. They both went into the season highly touted, and both had issues to work out (BJax’s SO’s, Rizzo consistantly hitting LHP). Rizzo showed major progress, Jackson has regressed. I just don’t see a point in promoting a guy that is struggling in the most hitter-friendly league in baseball.

        • Turn Two

          Yes, it is. However, we do not want “life” to ruin a top prospect. So call him up and give him a shot that maybe he did or maybe he did not quite deserve in order to have the best possible chance that he helps us in the long run. IF he is still someone the front office believes in, then they need to break protocol a little bit and give him (for his potential’s sake) a chance that maybe they wouldn’t give another prospect.

    • Bric

      Guys have been harping on his K rate since the middle of last year. If he gets promoted it may get worse or may even get better but I doubt 3 more weeks of AAA is gonna make it suddenly disapear. Please don’t allow that to be the deciding factor of whether he comes up or not.

      • Drew7

        Sure they were harping, but that was when it was creeping just above 25%, not 35%-40%.

        I would love to see BJax in Chicago, but go look at the minor league K-rates of guys comparable to him – Reynolds, A. Jackson, Stubbs, etc – and you’ll find none even sniffed Jackson’s extreme level of whiff-ness.

        “Please don’t allow that to be the deciding factor of whether he comes up or not.”

        -Then what should be the deciding factor? I’m not trying to be a jerk, just curious as to what others are thinking here.

        • Chris

          Honestly, I don’t think he’s ready in September either. But I don’t think his play warrants sending somebody else on the roster out at this point. In September, he can come up when the roster expands, if he must.

        • djriz

          Bring him because there is NOTHING to lose. Nothing! The FO needs to see what we have to see where to go in the office season.

  • Chef

    “Sveum has said, of both Jackson and Vitters, that if and when they come up, they’ve got to be every day players.”

    But Adrian Cardenas can ride the pine for weeks at a time?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I’m guessing that those directives are coming straight from the top.

      • Drew7

        You think Sveum has instructions to play Valbuena? I guess I just don’t see any reason at all to not give Cardenas a look over him.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Not necessarily that, but that he does NOT have instructions that he has to start Cardenas.

    • Chris

      Until Vitters is up here, I don’t see why Cardenas can’t play 3rd over Valbuena. We’ve seen what Valbuena can do. He’s a defensive replacement, once-a-week type starter that has a little pop in his bad in a pinch. He can probably back up all the infield positions and could be a good player on the bench, but he shouldn’t be starting anymore. Maybe Sveum has been fooled into thinking he’s better than he is, given the production they got out of Stewart previously, but it’s time to pull the plug on him starting every day, especially against lefties. Baker should play against lefties, but Cardenas should get the starts against righties immediately. We need to see what he can do. Maybe he hits enough to move Barney in the offseason. Who knows. But it’s time to find out.

  • Xoomwaffle

    I’ve heard before that Vitters is kind of a butcher at 3rd. Does he have the glove to stay there, or will he need to move into a corner OF spot?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Decent arm, but poor range and a weak glove. Problem is, if he can’t stick at third, his bat doesn’t play nearly as well in a corner OF spot. He’s improved defensively this year, but is still below average. The word on his future at third is “hope.”

      • Xoomwaffle

        Ugh. That’s what I was worried about.

    • Chris

      Another sign that Vitters might not be the Theo/Jed ideal 3rd basemen for the future… Up until Greg Rohan got called up to the Iowa Cubs yesterday, he was playing quite a bit of 1B since Rizzo was called up to the Cubs. If he needs work at 3rd, and he is a highly thought of “prospect”, why not play anybody but him at 1st so he can concentrate on fixing his weaknesses? At best, under this regime, he’s a stopgap measure until Baez is ready. Or Lake… Or Villanueva… Or Geiger… Or Candelario…

  • Garrett

    Couple questions and I’m sorry if they’ve been answered recently. Where are the new guys we acquired via trade going to start in our system? And with Almora and Soler already hot, do you think they are going to be bumped up shortly?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Cubs haven’t said yet (that I’ve seen), other than Chapman (AAA). Vizcaino will just be rehabbing in Mesa, Brigham will probably go to AA, and Villanueva and Hendricks will probably go to High A.

      • Chris

        Brett. Brigham got assigned to Tennessee. Villanueva and Hendricks were assigned to Daytona.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          So I was right!

          • Drew7

            So I assume the plan is for Baez to stay in Peoria the rest of this year then?

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

              He may still get a few days at the very the end of the season, but I doubt he is promoted until then.

              I expect that the Cubs will challenge him with a trip to the AFL, though.

      • Mick

        According to the press release at the Daytona Cubs’ website, Villanueva and Hendricks will join their team today.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          And there you go. Gracias.

  • Turn Two

    Word is that Olt has been called straight from Double-A to the big club today.

  • Cubs1967

    I find it laughable that BJax is blocked by .265 2 HR Dejesus or Lahair, pleaaaaase neither is an asset! Time to play the kids!

    • hansman1982

      I find it laughable that you used batting average and homeruns for a leadoff hitter!

      LaHair has all of 2 weeks left on his FT playing time in the bigs.

      • Mick

        If Soriano gets traded who do you think will displace LaHair, Sappelt? I think you move Soriano, give Jackson his call-up to finish the season in LF, and ride it out w/LaHair in RF to see if he learn to hit MLB LHP.

        • hansman1982

          I think if you move Soriano then LaHair will start until Sept 1 but will split LOTS of time with Sappelt.

    • Frank

      Maybe Vitters, but he hasn’t been at AAA a year, and the FO has said they think players need a year at AAA–though I do think Vitters will get called up at least for a bit. But Jackson is only hitting about .265 and strikes out 33% of the time in the PCL–bring him up now and he’ll strike out, what? 50%?

  • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

    Brett Jackson will struggle to hit .200 in the majors right now.

    • djriz

      Probably. But then he’ll know what he needs to work on. Didn’t Rizzo and Trout have bad debuts last year?

  • donnie kessinger

    I think Vitters could learn a lot by playing on the major league level, and can sit occasionally since we have Valbuena. Also, Dave Sappelt appears to be major league ready… perhaps he will get a look soon.

  • Mick

    I don’t see the issue in calling these guys up seperately and Vitters should get the call first for obvious reasons. Maybe seeing two position player teammates get the call will motivate Jackson to cut down on his K rate since that’s what’s holding him back right now. But definately by the end of the season Jackson should get a cup of coffee to keep him motivated in the off-season to continue improving.

  • hogie

    I know it has been said before, but even if Vitters can’t be an everyday third baseman he should be a younger, cheaper Jeff Baker. He can play the corner positions and with all the lefties now set to be big parts (if (big if) LaHair can figure it out), that would still be a piece of value.

  • Crockett

    I have been saying (and so have other people) that Jackson’s CEILING was an average regular and he was much more likely to be an athletic 4th OF-type. He simply makes too little contact.

    I feel bad for those of you who will disappointed when he hits .220/.295/.370.

  • willis

    I still maintain that Jackson will be a very good major league player. He has too much talent not to be. And his defense will be an upgrade to anything in the OF right now. He’ll strike out a bunch, but he’ll work long counts and be much better than a .200 or .220 hitter in the biggs.

    Vitters should come up, like yesterday. There is no 3B on this roster worth his weight. So why the hell not give the best 3B in the minors (right now) a shot?

    • Crockett

      What reasoning, besides blind Cubfan-dom do you have to think that? It certainly isn’t his statistics or scouting reports.

      I bet you thought that about Patterson and Pie too, eh? Just “too much talent” to fail.

      Jackson is not an elite talent and never was and as the pitching gets better and better, he fails more and more. And his flaw is functionally unfixable, which kills his value.

      • Chris

        Working long counts doesn’t mean much if the end result is a strikeout and a batting average of .250 or below at the ML level. Jackson has been dropped out of pretty much every mid-season top 50 prospects list, and probably out of the top 100. He’s not a “sure thing” by any means. It would be nice if he could figure it out, but he’s not a can’t-miss guy. Vitters has made a much better case for coming up and playing every day, but there is no rush at this point. If they want to wait until September, that probably makes sense. While he’s hitting well, he’s not killing it like Rizzo was in Iowa. He’s worthy of a September call-up, but no sense in doing so now. He is definitely the next guy deserving of a promotion now that Cardenas is back up. I wonder if they’ll give a guy like SP Brooks Raley a callup in September. I don’t think he’s on the 40-man roster, so that might be a little problematic.

        • Drew7

          “Working long counts doesn’t mean much if the end result is a strikeout and a batting average of .250 or below at the ML level”

          Actually, the result of working those long counts is what got him this far, and what will likely get him to the Majors sometime in the next year. His batting average will never be high (probably not even the .250 you mentioned), but it doesnt matter; his ability to draw walks and hit for power does.

          Crockett is right: Jackson was never an elite talent. His flaw has always been there (in fact, its why he dropped all the way to the bottom of the 1st round), and its not likely to go away. What will keep him serviceable will be his defense, plate discipline, and power. With his consistanly high BABIP, he could sneak out a few .240/.325/.425 seasons. Which, when coupled with his defense at a premium position, would get you a decent player.

      • willis

        I certainly am the last person to have blind cub fandom…or whatever. I call things like I see them. I’m no expert, but I’ve seen Jackson 9 times here in Memphis since he’s been at Iowa. Also saw him some in AA.

        Two things-if I’m wrong I’ll gladly come on here and tell everyone I’m a crap spewing idiot. I have no problem with that. Saying that…

        Maybe I’ve just been lucky to see great performances out of him? I don’t know. Maybe others know more than me. Maybe you guys are smart and I’m dumb? But, the eye test means more than anything to me. What I’ve seen from him has been very remarkable. Everything from gunning down runners to blasting triples and HRs at will. The kid has “it”. He just strikes me as an everything kind of player that will be fine at this level. He won’t be an all star…but he’ll be very good.

        • Jack Weiland

          If he hit triples and homers at will, he’d never get out. Would he?

          • willis

            He didn’t much these last two series here in Memphis. I said it way back then, something in the bbq around here. When he’s here the kid mashes. A great watch, especially as close as you can get to the field.

        • Chris

          He has had flashes of brilliance, so it’s quite possible you’ve been at those games. but he’s had really bad games too. 4 K’s 1 BB… 3 K’s 1 for 4. Regardless of the fact that he probably won’t have a high batting average, he should still hit .270-.280 in Iowa. The PCL is a hitter’s league. Roosevelt Brown hit .320 in Iowa… He was never the prospect that Jackson is. I really think Jackson might be a good player some day for the Cubs. I just don’t think he’s there yet, and I’m afraid that bringing him up will expose his weaknesses even further. Who’s to say he doesn’t continue to work on his weaknesses like Rizzo did and cut his strikeouts down some? Why not give him the chance to do that. Hell, I’d settle for seeing a trend of less strikeouts from now until September if he’s able to pull it off.

      • willis

        And I forgot the most important reason-he automatically becomes the best looking Cub once here. Dude is handsome.

  • MightyBear

    I do think Vitters defense is improving but what has kept him in AAA thus far and why he’s not gotten called up already. He can hit. When he had his 16 game hitting streak he also had a 3 game throwing error streak. I also think he’s very coachable and his defense can keep improving. They (Cubs management) asked him to be more patient and selective this year and his walk rate is way up. Somebody mentioned this but he’s only 22 and will only be 23 next week. If I were the Cubs, I would bring him up and see what he can do. If he struggles, send him down for more work. It worked for Rizzo.

    I also think they should play him at left and first as well in AAA. It gives him more value.

  • art

    to me it’s simple, Soriano, Jackson, and DeJesus. you sit LaHair who really isn’t a regular, he’s proven he can’t hit lefties and not much against Righty’s for a few months now. let’s see what Jackson can or can’t do. it’s not like you’re benching Babe Ruth.

    • Chris

      It’s not about who you’re benching. Why bring up Jackson when he isn’t ready? He isn’t. There’s no hiding that. Patterson and Pie weren’t ready either, but Jackson seems like he could be a steadier major league player than either of those two. But why expose him earlier than you need to? The Cubs have done that too often with guys that were hyped in their minor league system. Besides the arbitration clock delay, Theo and Jed did right by Rizzo by making sure he was truly ready for the big leagues this time around. As a fan, I’d love to see these guys playing in Wrigley. But we have to think long-term. Get the MILB TV package and watch Jackson in Iowa. You’ll see what we’re all talking about. He isn’t ready yet.

  • Joshua Edwards

    I think Jackson could be very similar to Drew Stubbs. So I checked out their minor league totals and did a quick comparison over on the message boards (http://www.bleachernation.com/forum/index.php?/topic/1299-b-jax-vs-drew-stubbs/page__pid__30552#entry30552). They’re shockingly similar.

    But I’m curious what others think of that projection.

    • hogie

      It does look very plausable, and I would be very happy with those results.

  • pfk

    I say bring both of them up now. The experience will serve them well just as it did Rizzo last year in San Diego. He stunk it up and learned what he needed to work on – then did it and is much better for it. They both need to experience MLB pitching – Spring Training doesn’t count. As for LaHair, I think its clear what he can and can’t do and the fact is, MLB pitchers have his number and he hasn’t adjusted or can’t. Plus, he’s a below average outfielder. No future with him and its a folly to think he’ll get hot and improve his trade value.

  • Jeff1969

    I would think Vitters would come up soon, it seems like a why not situation. He has spent almost a year at AAA, probably enough for his development. Despite what some were saying about him, he has improved some of his important numbers, even if only slightly. He has improved his approach at a higher level which is what you want to see. Jackson should stay down until Soriano is traded or LaHair becomes so unproductive it’s just worth it. I think Sveum was refering to how Jackson did better at AAA last year than he did at AA when he was talking about performance at the big league level. Jackson feels like a bust though. He feels like another in the long line of very flawed Cubs OF prospects. Funny how the Cubs can come up with catchers that actually have decent or at least useful big league careers, but really have failed to produce outfielders who do much of anything. Usually the other way around. Also don’t forget about Greg Rohan at 3B either. He’s up to AAA, albeit at 1B, but he plays 3B too. He might get a shot if Vitters proves he can’t make it.

  • J R

    Nothing like a post about bringing our #1 prospect “going into the year”, and hearing tons of people talk about how much he sucks complete ass to lift my spirits on this beautiful Thursday afternoon…

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