Two years ago if you asked a Cubs fan which prospect would make an impact soonest, Brett Jackson would have no doubt been on the list of responses.
Now? Not so much.
Jackson just wrapped up one of the most disappointing seasons of his career, and at this point, I’m ready to pull the plug on this experiment. To me, Brett Jackson will never amount to anything more than the second coming of Tyler Colvin. Yeah, that’s right. I went there.
Here is what I had to say when asked whether Junior Lake or Brett Jackson was the leading candidate for the center field job heading into 2014, in an interview with Blog Red Machine.
Brett Jackson is pretty much a non-factor at this point. He can’t hit for average, strikes out a ton and has shown virtually no signs of improving on these things. With Rookie Level, AA and AAA, he struggled – and that’s putting it mildly. He hit just .210 in 95 games, striking out in over 1/3 of his at-bats (121/324) and managing just a .296 on-base percentage. Keep in mind that he slugged just .330 (Cody Ransom even slugged over .400) and he hit just six homers in over three hundred at-bats and it’s enough for me to write him off. Lake is the man, at least for now, moving forward.
Those numbers are horrendous. If the strikeouts aren’t enough to turn you off, then the on-base percentage should certainly do the trick. Meanwhile, Junior Lake has been rather impressive in his first few months at the Major League level. After seeing him collect a trio of hits at Colorado in his big league debut, I decided to add him to my fantasy baseball team for the home stretch. Keep in mind that is based on watching the kid play just one game. Suffice to say, it’s worked out pretty well for me.
On the year, he’s hitting .309 with six home runs and 16 RBIs. To go along with those six long balls are his 12 doubles and a .350 on-base percentage. After hitting a bit of a rough patch at the end of August, a couple days off gave Lake a rejuvenation, and in the last seven days, he’s hitting .500 (6-12) with two homers and five RBIs. In the month of September, as a whole, he’s hitting .467.
In one game last week, Lake hit his first career grand slam. Most people who follow the Cubs are aware of that fact. However, something that rarely ever happens, let alone gets noticed, is the fact that Lake also bunted for a base hit – in the same game. This showcases what makes this young player so special. He’s got gap power, solid speed and hits for a high average – all while learning a new position on the fly.
It’s time to close the book on Brett Jackson. With one more year of a Trade Deadline fire sale likely ahead of us, I say we include him in a deal to try and get him out of the organization and get some talent back in return.
For the time being, it’s Lake’s time to shine.