Brett Jackson is Heating Up and Other Bullets

Yesterday’s fantasy football draft went all right. Thanks to keeping Arian Foster in the 4th round and Rob Gronkowski in the 12th, the team looks a lot better than it might otherwise. Got stuck taking a lot of wide receivers early (Larry Fitzgerald, Roddy White, Dez Bryant) because the running back talent pool was incredibly thin.

  • Dale Sveum with the bottom dollar on Brett Jackson’s performance so far: “Even with the strikeouts, right now he has a .700 OPS. It’s not where you want it … but that’s the kind of center fielder you’re asking for, when you cut down the strikeouts.” As Denny Green might say, “He is who we thought he was.” The strikeouts, too, are coming down ever so slightly – in his last 29 plate appearances, Jackson has struck out “only” 11 times (38%). These sample sizes are obviously small, but a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single ground ball.
  • The Cubs have used 48 players this year, just three shy of the team record back in 2000. That number is going to rise in September when rosters expand to 40. The Padres have used the most in MLB this year (51).
  • Speaking of September call-ups, Dale Sveum suggested that Blake Parker, Chris Rusin, Jairo Asencio, Adrian Cardenas and Tony Campana are the most likely to come back up (all five have spent time on the big club already this year). Junior Lake remains a possibility, and newly-acquired Miguel Socolovich is a near lock. I’d also expect to see guys like Jeff Beliveau and Scott Maine come back. Usually, you see teams call up a third catcher, but the Cubs don’t currently have one on the 40-man roster.
  • Phil Rogers on the dismantling of the Red Sox in the post-Theo Epstein era.
  • Dale Sveum and Pat Listach, each of whom are younger than Roger Clemens, offer their thoughts on the 50-year-old righty making a comeback with the independent Sugarland Skeeters.
  • Luke discussed it in the Minor League Daily, but here’s a write up on the Boise Hawks’ playoff clincher.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

63 responses to “Brett Jackson is Heating Up and Other Bullets”

  1. CubFan Paul

    Sappelt should be a callup too

  2. JR

    Great to see BJax performing. He has a great skill set IF those k’s can be tamed. Brett, why wouldn’t a team be willing to make a push for Marmol? Especially if the Cubs eat some salary. The guy has been really good lately. The Cards proved last yr a deep bullpen is important in the post season.

  3. Kevin

    I don’t understand why clubs are not knocking down the door for Marmol either. Hopefully the Cubs FO doesn’t have an ovall reputation for being hard negotiators thus keeping teams away. Not every trade needs to be an A+, sometimes in life it’s ok to accept an A-.

  4. nkniacc13

    likely because of Masrmols inconsitantce and the contract nuber he has for next year. I think they will get some bites this offseason but now everyone in the playoff race likely has their closer and top set up guys

    1. J R

      I can see why playoff teams would not want Marmol as a closer, but the dude is elite when he is on like he is now. I just think he could really help a lot of teams by adding depth in the pen. And I am sure the Cub would eat all his salary for the right prospects.

      1. Pat

        Even with his recent good run, he is at 7.8 bb/9 and a 1.68 whip. I think most playoff teams would be scared off by those numbers.

  5. ramin

    I would like to see junior lake caller up. Give him a chanc to battle for 3rd base job with vittters.

    1. nkniacc13

      Be interesting to see what they do with lake considering most people expect him to be a trade canidate this offseason.

  6. die hard

    Wish Sveum would just stop talking…hes already screwed up Castro….leave the kids figure it out and then find and provide access to good coaching to guide them

    1. Carew

      *head scratch*

    2. BluBlud

      I actually agree about Castro. I think his batting style is be screwed with to much. As a result, he appears to be over-thinking his at bats. Don’t know if its Sveum, or the hitting coach or the FO, but its somebody.

  7. mudge

    How has Sveum “screwed up Castro?” Isn’t each player ultimately responsible for his own production?

    1. die hard

      after being rushed to majors the kid has not had consistency in coaching, mentoring or support….

      1. Andrew

        And that’s sveums fault why?

      2. Frank

        In one post you say Sveum should stop talking and “leave the kids figure it out” and in the next you say he’s had no consistency in coaching, mentoring, or support. First, if the kid has to figure it out, why would he need coaching, and second, how is Sveum supposed to provide that “coaching, mentoring and support” if he doesn’t talk? This is probably the best coaching the kid has gotten since he’s been here. Coaching can only do so much–the kid has to do the work.

        1. DocPeterWimsey

          Coaching can only do so much–the kid has to do the work.

          Coaching at this level is like piano-tuning: you tweak an existing product, you do not build it. To this end, “work” probably is not relevant either: players get game conditions only during games. BP and hitting off of tees are all well and good for the basic mechanics: but they do nothing for developing pitch identification. (If you think about the logistics that would be required, it’s impossible: you’d need a full staff of MLB quality starters to get every batter through two days of BP: and I can think of better uses for MLB quality starters!)

          And, of course, Stats 101 wouldn’t hurt when you are actually evaluating Castro…..

          1. Frank

            Point taken–I believe though, that we may be thinking slightly differently about “work.” I consider it doing what has to be done to be able to integrate whatever it is the coaches are trying to get one to improve. I, as you, don’t think work is going to do much for things like pitch recognition at this level, but as an example, whatever it is a player has to do to integrate a change in mental approach (or even a change in mechanics), is what I’m considering “work.”

  8. Crazyhorse

    This season has been terrible . The scoreboard and the standings do not lie. I had a feeling the Cubs would be the worst team in baseball. Most Theo Epstien fans would like to blame Hendry for this demise and I would agree. Yet Theo Epstien is still responsible for this teams failures. The parent team has not improved. His roledex of DL pitchers have been no help. His fascination with Stewart is just a yesterday’s dream to capture an Ortiz sensation.
    His manager and his coaching staff face the same predicament that Hendry’s staff faced with not much improvement. The Cubs lost more one differential games in the beginning of the season, but as the season progressed this team has regressed badly. That is not a good sign.
    I think a large population of Cub fans do not like to see a losing product on the field. I believe in accountability and a 100 loss is unacceptable. Any team that can achieve that number with the resources the Cubs posess should be utterly ashamed.
    I have faith in Theo Epstein it’s just not in his presidency title of the Cubs. Soon Sept rolls around. I hope the Cubs play better to escape a 100 loss season. As a Cub fan first (and not necessarily a Theo Epstein fan) I hope the Cubs can avoid the humiliation of a 100 loss season.
    Hopefully with this coming year Theo Epstein can improve the Cubs because his inaugural year with Chicago is a dud.

    1. die hard

      Bingo…the man crush Ricketts had on Theo was used by Theo to take advantage of the mess…Theo should have said “let me finish my contract and if still interested we can talk..Ricketts got what he wished for, a high profile wheeler and dealer from a mold that Ricketts came from in his profession…sort of like Romney picking Ryan…

      1. Crazyhorse

        Wow – Romney and Ryan- didnt see that coming !

      2. nkniacc13

        Ricketts went for the best guy for the job according to multiple baseball people. With the new CBA that changes how quickly you can aquire talented players. Lets wait till this offseason and see what Theo and Jed do to revamp this roster after having a year to figure out what they got. They have already started to change the front office

    2. nkniacc13

      Even with the resources the Cubs have you have to spend sometime getting to know what you have especially when you cross leagues. With a bunch of money coming off the book this year it was a smart move on Theo’s part to shed some contracts find out what you have and then try an adress it.

    3. J R

      It didn’t take a brain surgeon to realize the Cubs would suck this year. Anyone with baseball knowledge knew that. And there is no way anyone could clean this mess up in their first year. The Cubs will become contendors by drafting and developing, that’s it. Their first draft was a couple months ago, so not sure what your point is..

      1. Dave

        Drafting and development is a big part of it but they are going to flex some of their financial muscle in order to have an advantage over most of the other teams in baseball operating under the same plan as Theo and Co.

    4. DocPeterWimsey

      The parent team has not improved. His roledex of DL pitchers have been no help.

      If you expected Theo to make the 2012 Cubs better in 2012, then you misunderstand how baseball works. Teams improve from year to year. They improve not from existing players improving their games, but by replacing lesser players with better players. Epstein & Hoyer were upfront about this from the start: they were going to replace players with prospects, not with guys who would help win now.

      Will next season be better? Probably not: the prospects that have been added will not help until 2014 or 2015 for the most part, and the players in AA & AAA are not all that good.

      But, again, making the team better mid-season simply was not in the cards. We’ve seen GM’s turn good teams into very good teams over the season, but we’ve never seen a GM turn a team as bad as the 2012 Cubs into even a 0.500 team within that same season.

    5. baldtaxguy

      “I think a large population of Cub fans do not like to see a losing product on the field.”

      You mean, there is population of Cubs fans that like a losing product?

      1. Flashfire

        Check out the poll over at Cubs Den — about 47% of them.

    6. Chase S.

      Right because 3/4 of a season is a good evaluator at how the FO is running this ball club…

  9. die hard

    Sveum has to stop talking about players period, especially Castro and the other young ones..if he wants to discuss his strategy or what hes done, thats fine to a point…but as soon as he mentions a player by name, he in effect has called out that player….good managers never do that…

    1. Carew

      If it is “calling out” someone, it’s just tough love, he probably doesnt mean anythin but just trying to motivate. Why do hate Sveum? He’s still learning the job…

      1. Drew7

        Um…bc he isnt Ryno! Dick Tidrow wouldn’t stand for this shit.

  10. Mike Taylor

    I think Adduci may get his shot with the big club next year. He doesn’t strike out much and can put the bat on the ball. He’d be a great platoon with David DeJesus. I just can’t see us trotting out Mather again next year.

    BJax is doing pretty good the last 7 days:
    6G,17AB, 2R, 4H, 2 2B, 0 3B, 2HR, 3RBI, 4BB, 8SO, 0SB, 1CS, .235/.381/.706/1.087

  11. Frank

    JR–you hit it on the head. Theo, in fact, said it would take time, and anyone who understands what he’s trying to do also understands that. Whether he’s successful still has to be determined, but for everyone who called for a rebuild–well this is what a rebuild looks like. The Tigers, under Dombrowski, went through the same thing. And those who wanted the team to take a different path will never be happy with what’s going on now, no matter what–until ultimately, we know whether it’s worked or not.

    As to calling a player out–I think a manager has to know how the player will respond. A good manager cannot treat all players the same way because each individual will respond to different things in different ways. If Sveum knows, for example, that Castro will respond in a positive way to being “called out”–spurring him to become better, then it’s ok. But if Sveum doesn’t know how Castro will react and still calls him out, the result could be a problem. The question is whether or not Sveum knows his team well enough to make those distinctions and decisions.

  12. Spencer

    How in the world was Foster a 4th round keeper?

  13. nkniacc13

    Arizona trades Sunders to Baltimore. Maybe he goes the way of Sanchez and Dempster and not improve his stock in the AL so maybe hed consider a 1 year deal

  14. Mr. Coffee

    If I was cynical, I might think Roger Clemens was trying to make a comeback in the Majors to push back his HOF eligibility another 5 years. It would save him the embarrassment of not being a 1st ballot guy, possibly getting less than half the vote, and he may figure that 5 years down the road, the steroid controversy may have blown over a bit. Of course, as I said, I would be having these thoughts only if I were cynical.

    1. Diesel

      As long as he is playing professionally whether it is in the majors or in the minors he has to wait five years so yes he is probably trying to push it back.

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  16. BluBlud

    All you guys defending Sveum, I thought he was the best man for the job also. But over the course of this season, he has made some idiotic statements. Even worse, he has made some very dumb baseball decisions in game. Rookie manager, maybe. I hope he gets it together.

    As for the twenty-twelve Cubs, they could have been much more competitive had Theo went a few different direction on a few decisions. However, he had a plan. The thing about a plan is sticking to it, no matter what. To sacrifice the “plan” to win 75-80 games would be idiotic itself.

  17. EvenBetterNewsV2.0

    How in the hell is Jeimer Candelario our 15th “ranked” prospect?

    1. Flashfire

      If you’re looking at, partly because those rankings were done before the season. But, he’s still a very young rookie-league player who has a ton of hurdles to jump through before they make the majors. He, Amaya, and Vogelbach will all jump after this season (Vogelback and Amaya will probably be ahead of him), and might even make top-10, but that’s more a reflection of the top of the Cubs system than the three of them.

    2. Chris

      I think because he’s only in Boise right now. While he’s hitting well there, he’s not nearly the best prospect in Boise. Almora, Vogelbach, Amaya are all performing better right now. And if you factor some of the pitching prospects in Boise right now, maybe he’s 5 best, just in Boise. From there, you go to Peoria and Soler would be ranked higher. Maybe Peralta or Wang too, but arguments sake I’d say no. In Daytona, Alcantara, Baez, and Torreyes would also probably be ranked higher. Villanueva and Candelario could be close to the same ranking, but we’ll still assume Candelario is higher for this argument. In AA, Junior Lake, Szczur, and Ha are probably rated higher. Arguments could be made fo guys like Bour and Silva too. Best case he’s 10th best positional prospect, IMO. Factor in pitchers in the rankings and I think 15th might be generous. Now if he goes to Peoria and tears it up next year, he’ll move up the list for sure.

  18. Scooter

    Bottom line:
    If Brett Jackson becomes great and more than what his first couple weeks of K’s said. It can be credited directly to Jed Hoyer, Dale Sveum, McKay and Rowson. They recognized:
    the season was not going to be a winner
    the knew if they could get brett jackson mature at the plate they could do it without much downside
    they ran him out every game and spent 2 additional hours daily in tape room and cage
    they keep telling him “you are the future”
    sometimes it takes a joe torre to have faith in a jeter to create a jeter.
    if brett is a flop at least these guys did the right thing in attempting to create internal talent
    vs playing dodger money to win.
    the future could be bright…

    1. Mat B

      Why not make That same commitment to Vitters, especially when the alternative is Valbuena?

  19. Ash

    I’m a little late to the party on this but… Arian Foster in the 4th round and Rob Gronkowski in the 12th?! Is your league replaying the 2010 season?

    1. Ash

      Ahh… it’s clear after reading your posts. Keeper league. phew. Sanity restored, and nice keepers!.