Brett Jackson has long been viewed as a potential impact player for the Chicago Cubs. He finally got his opportunity to show his talents in 2012, but I use the term “talents” loosely:
120 At Bats
.175 Batting Average (21 Hits)
4 Home Runs
0 Stolen Bases
.303 On Base Percentage
.342 Slugging Percentage
So, what exactly happened? The bottom line is Jackson was quickly exposed as someone who was susceptible to a significant number of strikeouts. To be exact, he struck out an unbelievable 41.5% of the time, even worse than the lofty levels that Adam Dunn has made baseball enthusiasts accustomed to.
The thing is, no one should really have been surprised. Prior to his recall from Triple-A he had struck out 158 times in 407 AB (a 33.8% strikeout rate). In his debut at Triple-A in 2011 he whiffed 64 times in 185 AB (a 29.8% strikeout rate). Seeing the number increase like it did really should not have caught anyone off guard.
It makes sense that people want to be drawn to Jackson. In 2012 at Triple-A he smacked 49 extra base hits (22 doubles, 12 triples and 15 home runs) to go along with 27 SB. Between Double and Triple-A in 2011 he went 20/20 in 431 AB.
There is some clear talent and upside there. It also isn’t like he has a terrible eye at the plate. Just look at his walk rates, but level, over the past two seasons:
- Double-A (2011) – 15.2% over 246 AB
- Triple-A (2011) – 13.0% over 185 AB
- Triple-A (2012) – 10.1% over 407 AB
- Major Leagues (2012) – 15.5% over 120 AB
He simply just doesn’t make contact and, if he can’t do that, how can we really project success for him? Without a significant adjustment from Jackson, the prospect of seeing him post big numbers in 2013 would seem minimal.
As it is, early talk has been that Jackson will open the year at Triple-A. Given what he showed in 2012, unless he shows dramatic improvement at that level the Cubs are not going to be in a rush to get him back to the Majors.
While he has potential for those in long-term keeper formats, the rest of us can watch him from a distance and see what happens. If he shows signs early he should be able to be scooped up off the waiver wire.
Make sure to check out the rest of our extremely early 2013 rankings: