Name: Brett Jackson
Notable 2011 Stats: .256/.373/.443 with 10 2B, 3 3B, 10 HR, 74/45 K/BB, and 15-for-21 SB in 67 games with Tennessee (AA);
.297/.388/.551 with 13 2B, 2 3B, 10 HR, 64/28 K/BB, and 6-for-7 SB in 48 games with Iowa (AAA);
.274/.379/.490 with 23 2B, 5 3B, 20 HR, 138/73 K/BB, and 21-for-28 SB in 115 games total
Why He’s This High: Jackson is intriguing as a potential power/speed threat in center field, and he’s on the doorstep of the majors after hitting well in Triple-A.
Projected as a power threat since being drafted in the supplemental first round in 2009, Jackson realized that power potential this year by slugging .490 with 20 HR.
An athletic outfielder, Jackson’s spent almost all of his time in center field defensively, and he should be able to stick there in the majors. Tools-wise, his power/speed combination in center field is in the vein of Curtis Granderson or Matt Kemp. While he can’t be expected to provide 40 homers per year, one could say Granderson was never expected to do that when he was a prospect either.
Jackson has a disciplined approach at the plate, as he walked 15.2% of the time in Double-A and 13% of the time in Triple-A. With power, speed, and discipline at a key defensive position, he should be an all-around talent in center field.
Why He’s This Low: Jackson has one big flaw–strikeouts. He struck out 29.8% of the time in Triple-A, but the easy PCL environments masked that flaw. His patience does make up for some of this deficiency, but it’s quite possible Jackson will struggle to keep his batting average above .250.
While his other skills are good, he has yet to show one “signature skill” that would allow him to star in spite of the strikeouts. He projects as a 20-HR, 20-SB, 70-BB player in center field–that’s enough to make him a starter even with the strikeouts, but it could well preclude him from being more than just an average starter. It’s quite possible he’ll end up as a .245/.325/.430 sort of player–basically, a lefthanded-hitting Chris Young.
Unlike Young, Jackson doesn’t project as a plus defender in center field, and some think he’ll end up as a marginal defender there who fits best in right field.
Conclusions: Jackson has a lot of skills, but none of them are so excellent as to make him a can’t-miss player, and his huge strikeout numbers also are a significant source of worry.
He is close to the majors, so his floor is fairly high, and guys like Kemp and Granderson offer plenty of hope for somebody with this sort of profile. However, if he has to move to right field, there will be a lot of pressure on Jackson to step up his performance–a .330ish wOBA isn’t really exciting in a corner.
Jackson has significant skills that make him a very intriguing, and if he could find a way to solve his strikeout problems and/or add a ton of power, he could be a star. The most likely outcome, however, is that he’ll be an average starting outfielder–a three-win player, basically. He’s close to that level already, but he still needs to prove he can make some reasonable level of contact against top pitchers to avoid being a Corey Patterson-style bust.
Check out all of the Seedlings To Stars 2012 Top 100 Prospects here!
For more on the Cubs, check out Cubbies Crib.
Follow us on Twitter: Nathaniel (@stoltz_baseball), Wally (@thebaseballfish), James (@JAYRC_MCB) and Joe (@ReleasePoints). You can also keep up to date with all things S2S by following the site on Twitter (@Seedlings2Stars) or liking our Facebook page.