Formerly the best prospect in the system, Brett Jackson‘s inability to lower his nightmarish strikeout rate turned his career into a running punch line among Cubs fans, and an endless source of “prospects always fail” arguments for minor league critics. Somewhere along the way he also lost his trademark power and patience, and with them any place on even the deepest of Top Prospects lists. It looked like it was only a matter of time before the Cubs axed him from the 40 man roster.
Note the past tense. I’m no longer sure that Brett Jackson’s career is dead yet. I now suspect there is a chance, perhaps only a small one, that he could have a future in Wrigley.
To be clear, I think if he has a major league future, the best case scenario is that he plays well enough generally to hold down a fourth or fifth outfielder job despite the jaw droppingly huge strikeout rates. Because, at this stage, those are part of the package. Jackson will probably strike out forty percent of the time in the majors, and as a result he will probably never survive as a regular.
But if there is a scenario in which a guy with that big of a flaw can still carve out a niche for himself, Jackson might just be living in it. The player would have to get on base at a good clip (.345 OBP against right handers this season, .365 total in July (sample size alert)), provide above average power (.543 SLG in July), have enough speed to be a weapon on the basepaths (four triples, four steals in nine chances (ok, so that’s not great)), and would have to be an asset defensively (Jackson has an excellent corner outfield glove, and can hold his own in center).
All that is nice. The main reason I think Jackson has a chance to return to Chicago, though, is that he would provide a very useful left handed bat off the bench in support of an outfield that is rather right handed, and that appears likely to stay right handed into the near future.
If he can produce enough to outweigh the strikeouts. And if his July resurgence is for real and not just a hot streak. And if he can thrive in a role as a bench player. And if the Cubs don’t decide to stick with what they have on the outfield bench and call it a day.
The odds are not in his favor, but a Brett Jackson career revival is now something I think could happen. I’d go so far as to say that the Cubs should bring him up in September for another look before making any final decisions about his roster slot.
Scores From Yesterday
Iowa – The Iowa offense was as potent as advertised in this 11-2 win.
Tennessee – Tennessee never trailed in this 4-2 win.
Daytona – Daytona was rained out.
Kane County – This game was a back and forth affair, but Kane County won it 5-3.
Boise Hawks – Boise pulled out to an early lead and never trailed in this 7-3 win.
Arizona – Arizona let this game slip away late. They lost 7-6.
Performances of Note
- [Iowa] Javier Baez homered for the 17th time and finished 2 for 5 with 2 strikeouts.
- [Iowa] Kris Bryant scored twice during his 1 for 4 night. He also stole his 4th base.
- [Iowa] Jorge Soler singled, struck out, and walked twice to finish 1 for 3.
- [Iowa] Mike Olt, playing first, doubled and finished 2 for 5.
- [Iowa] Armando Rivero struck out 3 over 1.2 innings of relief. He allowed a walk and just one hit. When he left the game, his pinch hitter, Josh Vitters, homered for the 8th time this season.
- [Tennessee] Pierce Johnson struck out 8 over 6 innings of 2 hit, 3 walk scoreless baseball.
- [Tennessee] Addison Russell finished 2 for 4 and scored half the Smokies’ runs in this one. Lars Anderson, recently sent to Double A, doubled and also finished 2 for 4.
- [Tennessee] Frank Batista has been quietly sensational in Double A. Over 21.2 innings he has allowed 2 runs. Total. He tacked on another 1.1 scoreless frames in this one.
- [Kane County] Jen-Ho Tseng was not at his best, but he still held South Bend to 3 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks while striking out 4 over 5.2 innings.
- [Kane County] Jacob Rogers finished 3 for 4 with his 11th homer.
- [Kane County] Ben Carhart (playing second base), Trey Martin, and Shawon Dunston all had 2 hits.
- [Boise] Danny Canela homered (his 4th), Justin Marra homered (his 6th), and Charles White hit his first triple. Those were the only extra base hits for the Hawks.
- [Boise] Josh Conway walked 3 and struck out 2 over 2 innings of 2 hit, one run ball.
- [Boise] Sam Wilson and Francisco Carrillo both pitched 2 hitless innings of relief, and both struck out 4.
- [Arizona] Kevonte Mitchell tripled (his first) and walked as part of his 2 for 3 night.
- [Arizona] Eloy Jimenez and Gleyber Torres both singled and walked.
- [Arizona] Jefferson Mejia was again effective, striking out 3 and allowing just 2 hits over 3 innings of relief.
- I take off for a week’s vacation starting this afternoon, a vacation that culminates in visits to the Tennessee Smokies on Thursday and Friday of next week. The Minor League Daily will continue to appear while I am enjoying the mountain air and attempting to not be devoured by native carnivores, but it may be a little shorter.
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