After reading a Phil Roger’s story from the Chicago Tribune, it amazed me that no first-round picks of the Chicago Cubs have made an impact in the Major Leagues since the 2001 selection of Mark Prior. As a life-long Cubs fan, I have experienced the promise of so many prospects that have fizzled out and disappointed when reaching the majors (see Corey Patterson, Felix Pie and Bobby Hill).
However, with the farm system producing position players, like of Starlin Castro, Darwin Barney, Tony Campana and Tyler Colvin, it becomes apparent that the Cubs are producing some level of major league talent. Although the jury is still out on almost all of these players, except Castro, I think it is relevant to review Brett Jackson, the current top prospect (and former first round pick) in the system, and analyze his chances of being an everyday Major League Player or a fizzle and bust player, like Cubs fans have become accustomed to through the last decade.
To start, just a simple review of his stats for the 2011 season. He has split time Between AA Tennessee and AAA Iowa.
Games: AA: 67 AAA: 27
Batting Average: AA: .256 AAA: .320
On Base Percentage: AA: .373 AAA: .410
Slugging Percentage: AA: .443 AAA: .620
Home Runs: AA: 10 AAA: 7
Runs Batted In: AA: 32 AAA: 14
Walks: AA: 45 AAA: 16
When looking at this list, a fan can see a definitive difference between his seasons in AA Tennessee and AAA Iowa. His increased production in Iowa is something to look forward to for Cubs fans but also something to question. In both leagues it appears that his plate discipline is quite good, compiling walks and maintaining a On Base Percentage of over .370. However, Jackson’s power and and average dips when looking at his AA and AAA seasons.
The question then arises, is Brett Jackson going through a hot streak in Iowa or is this what to expect from him over the course of the rest of the season? Given the shorter sample produced in Iowa, (27 games to 67 in Tennessee) I would say the jury is still out on if he can constantly put up numbers, like he is producing in Iowa.
If Brett Jackson truly has turned a corner and a consistent .300 BA and .500 slugging is to be expected, the Cubs may have their first major league first-round pick that actually can contribute since, Mark Prior. However, like so many other first round prospects that have shown promise in the minor leagues, the numbers can be a farce until he reaches the majors and quickly struggles.
Hopefully for Cub’s fans sake, he is the real deal, and are answer to finally replacing some of the lost offense from 2008. I guess we will have to wait and see until the September call ups, which I’m sure is where Jackson will be able to show his promise to the entire Cub’s nation.