Brett Jackson #87 – 2013 Top 100
Date of Birth: August 2, 1988 (Age 25)
Origin: 2009 Rule 4 Drat, 1st Round, Pick 31 out of University of California, Berkeley (Berkeley, CA)
JD Sussman: When Jackson was drafted out of the University of California, I fell in love with the Golden Bear’s athleticism and approach. But, questions about his hit tool have evolved from speculative concern to chronic condition. In his 2012 debut Jackson was the no-so-proud owner of a whopping 41.5% strikeout rate, the highest rate of anyone with over 140 plate appearances. Jackson’s flaws will prevent him from being an elite player, but it’s plausible his power, walk rate and defense make him an average or better player. Reports out of Spring Training note he has overhauled his swing entirely to make better contact. Honestly, it’s hard to envision him making less contact than he did last year.
Michael Schwartze: The raw talent has always been there with Jackson but he is still struggling to improve his bat and at this point in his career it looks like it may never come around enough for him to reach his full potential. JD mentioned the horrific strikeout numbers above and that has been a reoccurring theme for him throughout his professional career. Despite the poor bat, he still has some things going for him. If he is able to make adjustments and survive at the big league level, Jackson does have 20-20 potential. Jackson could open 2013 as the Cubs center fielder with an impressive spring but I would like to see spend more time at AAA to make the necessary adjustments to his swing.
Jeff Reese: At this point, Brett Jackson is what he is: a player with good but not great tools who will struggle at times to make contact. From Mike Cameron to Drew Stubbs, center fielders with contact issues has become an increasingly common player type; they typically excel defensively, however, and Jackson won’t provide the same defensive value. That puts a bit more pressure on the bat to fully translate to the majors. The flaws will cap his potential, but there are enough positives in Brett Jackson’s game for a solid-regular to emerge. More time in the offensively rich environment of the Pacific Coast League is unlikely to produce significant gains. With 2013 being another expected down year in Chicago, the Cubs have the luxury to be patient with Jackson at the major league level.
Fantasy Outlook by David Weirs
Call me an optimist, but I’m a fan of Jackson. No, not his batting average or OBP, but he has a touch of power to go with speed, and that makes for an appealing late round addition. I see him as a 15-15 player with the chance to steal 20+ bags. He did go 0-for-3 in steal attempts last year, but his speed is something that shouldn’t be doubted. He stole 27 bases last year in Triple-A. As his BABIP regresses to something that will more closely resemble his true talent, probably in the .330 range, I see Jackson as a (very) poor man’s B.J. Upton. The strikeouts are a concern for Jackson but he did post a 15.5% walk rate in the majors last year too. That being said, a 40+% strikeout rate won’t cut it, not even for someone like Adam Dunn, but even if Jackson cuts it back to 30%, he is a useful fantasy piece. For someone who isn’t even on the radar for a lot of mock drafters right now, I expect relatively big things from Jackson this season.