Someone asked me this morning for my current take on Cubs prospect Brett Jackson. Let's run with that and make today Jackson Day at Minor League Ball.
***Chicago Cubs outfield prospect Brett Jackson went 4-for-5 with a double yesterday for Triple-A Iowa. On the season he is hitting .265/.339/.418 with nine walks and 29 strikeouts in 98 at-bats. He's been banged up a bit with shoulder and toe injuries this spring but has started to hit more effectively of late. It seems to me that the baseball world is starting to lose consciousness about Jackson; he's certainly receiving less attention than he received in '11 and '12. Hitting .175 with 59 strikeouts in your first 44 major league games will do that, and while scouts have always respected his tools, concern about his swing and issues with contact have always been present. On the positive side, he's still only 24, and the raw power, speed, and defensive ability are still there. If the Cubs don't have room for him, he seems like the type of player who could benefit from a change of scenery.
***The change-of-scenery effect may be helping an ex-Cub prospect, right-handed pitcher Jay Jackson. He looked like a strong pitching prospect a few years ago, but never adapted properly to Triple-A and was released after posting a 6.57 ERA at Iowa last year, his third season in Des Moines. The Miami Marlins signed him as a free agent this spring and he's pitching well for Double-A Jacksonville, with a 2.45 ERA in 26 innings with a 23/6 K/BB and 19 hits allowed. He had one bad start on May 12th, but has otherwise been very effective, with strong games on April 26, May 2, May 7, and last night. The 6-1, 195 pound right-hander is still just 25 and is an interesting retread project for us to track.
***St. Louis Cardinals infielder Ryan Jackson is blistering hot for Triple-A Memphis, hitting .488 in his last 10 games and posting a .385/.453/.525 line through 122 at-bats. He remains well-regarded as a defender and has played solid defense at both third base and shortstop this spring. Although Pete Kozma isn't hitting like Roy Hobbs in St. Louis right now, he's held his major league job so far and has played well with the glove. At this point Jackson represents infield depth to cover injuries and possible trade bait for later in the season.
***A solid campaign so far from Texas Rangers pitching prospect Luke Jackson, posting a 2.48 ERA through 36 innings with a 40/17 K/BB for High-A Myrtle Beach. Jackson is repeating this level, having posted a 4.39 ERA in 66 innings there last season, but he's still just 21 and a trial in Double-A will come later this season if he remains this effective. The focus for Jackson: sharpening his command and refining his change-up, typical goals for a pitcher his age. There's nothing wrong with his low-mid-90s fastball and his power curveball, and the 2010 supplemental first round pick remains one of Texas' premier prospects.