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Prospect Notes: Brett Jackson (OF-Cubs), Luis Jimenez (3B-Angels)

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Brett Jackson examines his bat for holes
Brett Jackson examines his bat for holes

Brett Jackson, OF, Chicago Cubs
Bats: L Throws: L HT: 6-2 WT: 210 DOB: August 2, 1988

I have been an optimistic about Brett Jackson, but now. . .well, now I don't know what to think. The tools are obvious: his combination of speed and power is very potent. He'll take a walk, helping his OBP even when his batting average is low. Although many scouts think he fits best in right field, I've seen him make some very stellar plays in center, demonstrating plenty of range to go with his arm strength. But you know the rest of Jackson's story, don't you? The strikeouts. . .oh, the strikeouts. His whiff rate was simply obscene last year, especially after he was promoted to the majors. He seemed to go backwards with his swing at Iowa, having problems with breaking stuff outside the zone, but also with fastballs that would tie him up inside. As stated, he makes a serious effort to work counts, but he just swings and misses so damn much. Jackson's other skills are strong enough that he could be a productive and useful player even if he's hitting .230, but what if he can't break the Mendoza Line? That's a legitimate question. Pacific Coast League sources are quite split on him. Some think he will still be a valuable regular player with a few adjustments, others think he's destined for a reserve role. Some believe he'll never solve the contact problem and is doomed to wander the Quadruple-A borderland for the next decade. What do I think? I think he's the bastard son of Rob Deer and Andy Van Slyke. If I were the Cubs, and I'm not trying to contend in 2013, I would stick him in the lineup, let him hit seventh or eighth, and just see what happens. Grade B-.

Luis Jimenez, 3B, Los Angeles Angels
Bats: R Throws: R HT: 6-1 WT: 205 DOB: January 18, 1988

Luis Jimenez is a guy that I probably shouldn't like, but I do. Normally I am suspicious about players who don't draw many walks, and indeed Jimenez is a free swinger. But he always seems to make hard contact when I see him play, and he's got a really nice swing: short, simple, consistent. His production is always safely above league average, but not in the outstanding range (his last four wRC+ marks are 117, 113, 115, and 109), so it isn't a case of me falling in love with gaudy numbers. Jimenez continues to draw negative reviews from scouts for his glove, but I'm not sure why. Again, when I watch him play, if I didn't know he was "Luis Jimenez, bad glove reputation" I would see a guy with a strong throwing arm who makes all the routine plays, avoids mistakes, and can show surprisingly quick reactions. The numbers back that up, too: his range factors are good and improving each year, and his error rates have come down. Jimenez is now 25 and it remains to be seen when/if he'll get a chance in the majors, but I can't shake the feeling that something will click when he's 26 or 27, he'll take his game to the next level, and emerge as one of those surprise older prospects who "comes out of nowhere" and suddenly makes noise in the majors. Grade C+.

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