Cubs' Minor League Daily: Solving Brett Jackson

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Cubs’ Minor League Daily: Solving Brett Jackson

Chicago Cubs

Brett Jackson continues to defy nearly everything we think we know about baseball by striking out a ton while still being a productive hitter. In June his line now reads .274/.342/.509. That isn’t a great set of numbers for the Pacific Coast League, but it isn’t bad either. In 106 AB over that same span he has 10 walks and 48 strikeouts. That is bad at any level.

However, as is often the case, this bit of inexplicablity starts to disappear when we dig into the splits. When Jackson is ahead in the count he is hitting a robust .281/.454/.594 with 32 walks and 28 strikeouts 96 AB. When he is behind in the count, those numbers drop to .171/.193/.295 with 55 walks in 105 AB. We expect some gap in a player’s numbers in these two situations, but Jackson’s splits are extreme. Anthony Rizzo, by comparison, finished Triple A this season with a line of .328/.505/.896 when ahead and .289/.297/.433 when behind. The problem, then, appears to be with Jackson’s approach when he is behind in the count. He has a much harder time making contact, and when he does make contact he’s not driving the ball as hard as he does when he is ahead.

So, how do the Cubs’ fix it? Now that Rizzo is in the majors and Vitters is hitting fairly well, I think ironing out Jackson’s game is the overwhelming top priority for the Iowa hitting instructors. They’ve had success polishing up hitters before (Rizzo and Vitters both made strides in Iowa this season). Hopefully they can turn Brett Jackson into their biggest success story yet.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa – A little pit of power and a lot of good pitching resulted in Iowa’s 7-0 win.
Tennessee – Friday was a hitters’ night in Tennessee, and the Smokies got the best of it. They won 10-8.
Daytona – The Blue Jays rallied in the ninth to beat the Cubs 11-10.
Peoria – In another hot game with lots of offense, the Chiefs fell in ten innings 8-7.
Boise – The Hawks lost their tenth game of the season by a final of 4-1.
Arizona – The AZL Cubs had a day off.

Performances of the Day

  • [Iowa] Josh Vitters keeps rolling along. He hit his 13th home run as part of yet another two hit day.
  • [Iowa] Alberto Carbera struck out three in two scoreless innings. Look for Cabrera to be a part of the Cubs bullpen in September and to be a major player in the 2013 spring training bullpen battles.
  • [Tennessee] Frank Batista did not seem to be bothered by the heat. He gathered five outs on his way to his 13th save with the Smokies, and did not allow a hit in the process.
  • [Tennessee] The Smokies piled up 14 hits, so there are plenty of hitters who had big games. Among the biggest were Justin Bour (2 for 4, HR), Juan Apodaca (2 for 4, 2B), and Michael Burgess (2 for 5, 2B).
  • [Daytona] The Cubs allowed five home runs in this game, including two each by Frank Del Valle and Ryan Searle. Scott Weismann gave up just the one long ball, but he took the loss. I should mention that the wind was blowing out to right field at 12 MPH.
  • [Daytona] Matthew Szczur was 2 for 4 with a double and three runs scored. He was upstaged, though, by Ronald Torreyes who went 3 for 4 with a double and his fourth home run of the year.
  • [Peoria] Michael Jensen struck out six in his five innings of work. He also allowed six runs to score, but only three of them were earned.
  • [Peoria] Zeke DeVoss pulled of a really neat trick in this game. He finished with the following line: 3 AB, 2R, 0H, 1BB. When you realize that Wisconsin made four errors, all becomes clear.
  • [Peoria] Javier Baez finished with two hits, including his second triple of the season. Anthony Giansanti and Yasiel Balaguert also had two hits apiece.
  • [Boise] Willengton Cruz struck out five in his five inning start, but he still took the loss.
  • [Boise] The Hawks’ bats were mostly silent in this one. Stephen Bruno hit a double and a triple, but his was the only standout night.

Other Minor League Notes

  • Tony Zych has been promoted to Double A Tennesee and made his debut on Friday night. He did not have a great game, but considering that he was making his first Double A appearance on a day very conducive to hitting I think that can be forgiven. He pitched one inning and allowed one run on three hits with a strikeout and a walk.
  • Critics of the Sean Marshall trade are going to have to find something else to pick on. After getting off to a slow start, Torreyes has started hitting like the elite hitter he was projected to be. His June line now reads .341/.406/.541 with 8 walks and 9 strikeouts. He also has three of his four home runs in this month, including a homer in each of his last two games.

Farm System Standings

AAAIowa Cubs : 34 – 48.
Pacific Coast League American Northern Division – Second Place: 17.0 Games Behind.

AATennessee Smokies : 4-5
Southern League North Division – Third Place (tie) : 2.0 Game Behind

High ADaytona Cubs : 6-3
Florida State League North Division – First Place (tie) : 0.0 Games Ahead

Low APeoria Chiefs : 3-5
Midwest League Eastern Division – Third Place : 2.0 Game Behind

Short-Season ABoise Hawks : 5 – 10
Northwest League East Division – Third Place : 3.5 Games Behind

Rookie LeagueAZL Cubs : 6 – 2
Arizona Rookie League East – Second Place : 1.5 Games Behind

Author: Luke Blaize

Luke Blaize is the Minor League Editor at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @ltblaize.