Updating the Brett Jackson Watch

The top position player in the Cubs system entered Monday night’s game versus the Huntsville Stars (Milwaukee Brewers) hitting .301 with a .425 OBP in 29 games. Brett Jackson went through a brief slump at the plate but has managed to reach base in eight of the last nine games he’s started.

Jackson tripled in three runs Monday night, his third three-bagger of the season, in a 10-2 win over the Stars.

Brett Jackson was 1-for-5 Monday night with two strikeouts (both against lefty Lucas Luetge) and is hitting .296 with a .944 OPS in 108 at bats (30 games).

In 30 games at the Double-A level, Jackson has recorded 32 hits, stolen 11 bags (caught twice) and walked 22 times to go along with 26 strikeouts. Of his 32 hits, 14 have gone for extra bases … seven doubles, three triples and four home runs with 17 RBI.

Prior to his struggles with Lucas Leutge Monday night, Jackson had compiled a .303/.410/.333/.744 slash line against southpaws with six walks and six strikeouts. Jackson is hitting .300 with a .432 OBP and is slugging .614 (1.046 OPS) versus right handed pitching with 16 walks and 20 strikeouts.

Jackson recently walked three times in the same game and discussed his approach as a leadoff hitting on ESPN 1000. Brett Jackson joined Bruce Levine and Fred Huebner during Talkin’ Baseball on April 30 … click here for a link to the Podcast.

Stay Tuned …

Quote of the Day

"In baseball, you don't know nothing." - Yogi Berra
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  • gary3411

    “Can’t Wait!”

  • Tom U

    As players are nearing the “Castro Number” (109 at bats; .376, .421 OBP, .990 OPS), here are their stats:

    DJ LeMahieu (116 AB)
    .336/.365 OBP/.848 OPS,/11 2B/0 3B/2 HR/18 RBI/ 3 SB

    Brett Jackson (108 AB)
    .296/.417/.994/7/3/4/17/11

    Ryan Flaherty (105 AB)
    .295/.350/.922/6/1/7/24/2

    Josh Vitters (103 AB)
    .243/.291/.718/7/0/4/18/0

    Matt Spencer (101 AB)
    .327/.370/.974/11/1/5/22/3

    Rebel Ridling (99 AB)
    .364/.423/1.019/5/0/6/23/0

  • Tony_Hall

    Can’t wait to watch Brett Jackson!

    • Keith Moreland

      My heart agrees, but I can wait. Why rush him? We’re not going anywhere, and we may as well push his Arb years back one more, which if we wait 4 weeks will happen.

      I think a promotion to AAA is in order shortly, but Brett Jackson needs to stay in the minors until we have a place to play him in the Majors. That means moving Fukudome or Byrd before the deadline. (or after, since they both would clear waivers)

      • paulcatanese

        Keith,I think if moving one of the two it would be Byrd who seems to be the most viable of the two,and again Jackson could be the center fielder they need.

        • Tony_Hall

          Plus that would open up 2 spots for 2012!

      • studio179

        I prefer the Cubs to move Byrd or Fukudome before calling up Jackson as well. Wait and let him get more ABs and playing time in the minors.

      • Tony_Hall

        Keith – I never said to rush him. I have been saying late May/June for his arrival, to keep him from being a super 2. I also want him to play everyday, so they would need to move out someone.

  • Tony_Hall

    Great article on the thinking of a GM on the catcher position.

    http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/category/_/name/jim-bowden

    I don’t want to spend big bucks on catchers. I think you should be developing catchers, all through your system. Your back-up should be in line to be your next starter. Your starter should be nearing arbitration, or just getting there.

    I have said we should have traded Soto already, kept Chirinos, and used Castillo, Mad Max (since cut) and Chirinos to catch. I like Soto, but I don’t like paying catchers, they get too beat upover the years.

    Here is the list of catchers from the article. Some are about to be called up and are just “prospects”.

    Here would be an example of what the CATCHERS TRADE TARGETS list would
    look like. Note that it is a mix of major and minor leaguers. (This is not an exact order, just an example.)

    CATEGORY NO. 1: DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME, THEY’RE NOT TRADING
    1. Joe Mauer — Minnesota Twins
    2. Buster Posey — San Francisco Giants
    3. Brian McCann — Atlanta Braves
    4. Yadier Molina — St. Louis Cardinals
    5. Carlos Santana — Cleveland Indians
    6. Matt Wieters — Baltimore Orioles
    7. Kurt Suzuki — Oakland Athletics
    8. Jesus Montero — New York Yankees
    9. Carlos Ruiz — Philadelphia Phillies
    10. Miguel Montero — Arizona Diamondbacks
    11. Hank Conger — Los Angeles Angels

    CATEGORY NO. 2: PLAN ON PAYING A HEFTY PRICE
    12. Travis d’Arnaud — Toronto Blue Jays
    13. Derek Norris — Washington Nationals
    14. Gary Sanchez — New York Yankees
    15. Devin Mesoraco — Cincinnati Reds
    16. Wilson Ramos — Washington Nationals
    17. Alex Avila — Detroit Tigers
    18. J.P. Arencibia — Toronto Blue Jays
    19. Wilin Rosario — Colorado Rockies
    20. Yasmani Grandal — Cincinnati Reds
    21. Max Stassi — Oakland Athletics
    22. Tony Sanchez — Pittsburgh Pirates
    23. Jason Castro — Houston Astros

    CATEGORY NO. 3: POSSIBLE UPGRADES
    24. Russell Martin — New York Yankees
    25. Geovany Soto — Chicago Cubs
    26. Austin Romine — New York Yankees
    27. John Buck — Florida Marlins
    28. Jeff Mathis — Los Angeles Angels
    29. Ramon Hernandez — Cincinnati Reds
    30. A.J. Pierzynski — Chicago White Sox
    31. Nick Hundley — San Diego Padres
    32. Yorvit Torrealba — Texas Rangers
    33. Chris Snyder — Pittsburgh Pirates
    34. Sebastian Valle — Philadelphia Phillies
    35. Justin O’Connor — Tampa Bay Rays
    36. Miguel Olivo — Seattle Mariners
    37. Mike Napoli — Texas Rangers
    38. Jonathan Lucroy — Milwaukee Brewers
    39. John Jaso — Tampa Bay Rays
    40. Kyle Skipworth — Florida Marlins
    41. Lou Marson — Cleveland Indians
    42. Jesus Flores — Washington Nationals
    43. Josh Thole — New York Mets
    44. Matt Treanor — Kansas City Royals
    45. Carlos Perez — Toronto Blue Jays
    46. Rod Barajas — Los Angeles Dodgers
    47. Pudge Rodriguez — Washington Nationals
    48. Chris Iannetta — Colorado Rockies
    49. Bobby Wilson — Los Angeles Angels
    50. Ryan Doumit — Pittsburgh Pirates
    —————

    Now you need to read the whole article to understand this list. Jim Bowden says every team has a Top 50 target list for each position, for potential trade targets. Our Soto is 25th on this list, not exactly coveted. Mainly becasue he is getting expensive and is an inconsistent performer. We missed the window to trade him, IMHO.

    • Ripsnorter1

      I don’t think we missed the window. If he gets hot in May-June, he’ll be very tradeable. He just needs to get hot for awhile.

      • Tony_Hall

        Let me add then…and get a decent return. He’s going to have to get very hot, to make a team trade away anyone that will ever see a Major League dugout, or will only trade guys, who have lived on the bench in a major league dugout.

        • Ripsnorter1

          You are under-valuing Soto. Do you realize what a basher he would be in Boston? He’d hit 30-40 HRs. He’d be crushing balls off that green monster. And to escape the low morale Cubs–who have had a long history of losing–would be a great boost to his production as well.

          • Tony_Hall

            Maybe so, but 30-40 HR’s…wow that would be impressive, as unlikely as it would be to happen.

            The point was, if you were looking to add a catcher to your team, today, Soto is not high on the list, unless they are looking for a bargain.

          • Keith Moreland

            I wouldn’t trade Soto until we have a replacement. We don’t. Welington Castillo has some pop and can throw out runners, but hasn’t made consistent contact, and is apparently terrible at calling a game.

            BTW, Chirinos is batting .177 at Durham, not sure he was the answer either

          • Tony_Hall

            If only we would have had a month and a half where these guys could of played at the Major league level last year…..

            We have more catchers that could work as well.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Yup. September call ups were benched. Smart move. Colvin didn’t practice at 1B, and neither did Soto. Great move. Good management. Thinking ahead is bad. Just ask Quade and Jim Clueless.

    • Jon

      Someone please explain to me how CARLOS RUIZ is possibly #9 and listed in the ‘dont even ask category’!?! With a career .259 BA, and already 32 years old as basically a career backup with no more than 9 HRs in a season?????????

      • Tony_Hall

        Maybe they like how he handles the pitching staff.

        Maybe it’s due to his contract

        2010 – $1.9M
        2011 – $2.75M
        2012 – $3.7M
        2013 – $5M club option

        Now do you understand why I don’t like catchers who are in arbitration and FA years.

        Give me young guys,and let me turn them over after 3 years, and let someone else pay for them. To do this, you need an organizational committment to developing catchers.

        • paulcatanese

          Like it Tony,reminds me of someone that is praised the same way.

        • Dorasaga

          “Every perfect game needs a Carlos Ruiz.” ~Roy Halladay.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

      You are talking about Jim Bowden though. His judgement on talent other than OF’ers has been questioned for a long time. He destroyed Cincy for a long time and got ran out of the Nat’s not that long ago. It’s like listening to base stealing tips from Wade Boggs.

      You want to figure out a way to judge the value of catchers pay attention to the Angels they seem to have the right idea. Find value that calls a good game. If he can hit first find a different spot for him or hit the bricks (Napoli). I think if you value the defense of the position first and offense is a bonus you are on the right track.

      My idea on Soto is not to trade him but to move him to first where he will not wear down. I do agree he is a 30 homer guy with a great eye and solid stroke that sometimes gets out of wack. I once said he was Grady Sizemore without the speed and I think that is pretty acurate.

      • Tony_Hall

        Base stealing from Wade Boggs…I somehow think Bowden has a little more knowledge than that.

        Grady Sizemore…wow, we must be watching 2 different Soto’s.

    • Wickitkevin

      I disagree with the Ranks. Montero is have available.

      • Tony_Hall

        Everyone disagrees with the ranks. That is the fun in looking at these type of lists. No one will agree all the way.

    • Dorasaga

      Tony, You got my “AGREED.” Vote Senator Hall into the Hall.

      Conger is especially pleasant to see on that “no no” category. I will add that Rasmos should be on that cat. for the Nats.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Off topic but worth noting . . . . .

    The Pittsburgh Pirates are above .500 this late in the season. More than 20% of the season is shot already, and the Pirates are above .500 at 18-17. Hanrahan, their closer, has 11 saves already. Hmmmmmmm.They have a pathetic offense:
    21nd in Runs Scored—Cubs 24th
    22 in BAverage—-Cubs 3rd
    26th in slugging—Cubs 11th
    19th in OBP—-Cubs 12th

    What has saved them thus far is their pitching! Surprise!
    11th in ERA—Cubs 27th
    14th in Quality Starts—Cubs 30th
    19th in WHIP—Cubs 26th
    18th in BAA—Cubs 19th

    From these stats you can see
    1) they’ll be lucky to be .500 when all is said and done.
    2) They have out scored the Cubs
    3) They have outpitched the Cubs by a wide margin

    Top Pirate Performers vs. Cubs:RBI–
    Walker (20) vs. Soriano (21)
    McCutcheon (17) vs. Barney (14)
    Overbay (13) vs. Castro (12)
    Question: who would have ever thought that a couple of singles hitting infielders would lead the Cubs in RBI (after Soriano?).

    HR
    Garrett Jones (6) vs. Soriano (11)
    McCutchen (5) vs. Soto (3)
    Walker (4) vs. Pena (3)

    Batting Average (100 AB min).
    Walker (.293) vs. Barney (.316)
    Overbay (.229) vs. Castro (.300)
    McCutchen (.227) vs. Byrd (.299)

    WOW do they stink at the plate! And yet they are out scoring us.

    PITCHING/starters
    Correra 5-2 (2.91) vs. Z 4-1 (4.23)
    Morton 4-1 (3.13) vs. Garza 1-4 (4.43)
    Carstens 2-1 (3.62) vs. Coleman 1-2 (6.29)
    Maholm 1-4 (3.68) vs. Dumpster 1-4 (7.20)
    McDonald 2-2 (5.65) vs. Russell 1-4 (7.85)

    Relief (listed in order of most games pitched in relief)
    Hanrahan 0-1 (1.42) 11 saves vs. Mateo 1-1 (5.93)
    Veres 1-1 (3.45) vs. Marmol 1-1 (1.72) 8 saves
    Resop 1-1 (4.41) vs. Marshall 1-0 (0.64)
    Crotta 0-1 (5.91) vs. Grabow 0-0 (4.15)
    McCutchen 1-0 (0.00) vs. Smardzija 2-0 (2.33)

    The Pirates have some decent pitchers in the pen, and have had some decent starting pitching thus far. Their bats are oh so pathetic!

    • paulcatanese

      I noticed both you and Tony have not mentioned my favorite player,the”top run producer”(Quade) in either post and I am furious that he is not. How can he be left off any list for performers that the Cubs have? Simple, he should not even be in the lineup unless he bats 6-7. No,it’s obvious to many now that he (Quade) needs to change, but this is old hat,Aram has not been producing for the last year and is dropping off daily. All kidding aside,I liked both posts and agree with both of you.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Paul.

        To mention Aram, your favorite run producer, I’d have to list those on the bottom of the RBI and HR and BA list. Sorry to slight you.

    • John_CC

      While we are all happy to Soriano raking as he has this early in the season, it will not last. Consider these stats on Soriano (copied/pasted from a Yahoo! column):

      [He] is swinging at 49.4 percent of pitches outside the strike zone,
      easily the highest rate in the league (yes, even more than Vlad), and 14
      percent more than his career average. He also owns the worst K/BB rate
      of his career, which is not easy to do given his past marks. Only Berkman, Bautista and Braun have a higher HR/FB rate which, at 26.2 percent, is 11 percent above his career mark.

      As the stat-police like to say: regression is on the way.
      And unless someone else picks up the pace, this offense is going to get even worse.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Great post. Truth, too.

  • paulcatanese

    Neil,your’e response to me on the previous blog was very encouraging. And now you expand on his stats,sounds good, and if he just does 3/4 with the Cubs that he has done to this point, I agree with you. He will be a solid big league player. You and Tom,Brian do a great job on these guys.

  • studio179

    The Cubs handling of prospects makes me very nervous.

  • paulcatanese

    My proposed lineup for tonights game;

    1.Castro SS
    2. Barney 2B
    3. Fukudome RF
    4. Soriono LF
    5..Pena 1B
    6. Soto C
    7. Aram 3B
    8. Byrd CF
    9. Pitcher

    It won’t happen but I would like to see it. One of the keys tonight is to have a runner on, negating Puhols range at first and open up that side a little as he plays way off the line. And be prepared to run on the Cards outfield, actually that would be something they would not expect given our strategy on the bases.Anyway just a dream.

    • paulcatanese

      I saw the lineup posted for tonights game. The players we have here now are what the Cubs have to go with, but as usual the wrong people are taking the heat from Quade with his mixed up ability to put the right people in the right place.

      1.Fukudome (he would bat just as well #3)
      2. Barney ( thats ok his spot)
      3. Byrd (are you kidding me?)
      4. Aram(whats new?)
      5.Soriono (thats an improvement)
      6.Pena (also an improvement)
      7 Castro ( now thats a punishment to fit his crime,notice,youngest)
      8.Soto (if Quade did what he did,reverse him and Castro)
      9.Big Z.

      Maybe,just maybe Castro should be #7, but why when he is struggling he is the one to be moved?
      Why is Aram not moved down,not one place in the order?
      And Byrd in the 3# spot again,why?
      Castro,what can I say?
      Again the inability,lack of mental capacity, have created another lineup where at least three people are out of the correct spot.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From Joe Cowley of the Sun-Times:

    Cubs Breaking
    News: Castro will sign a big contract that will keep him with the Cubs
    until a date to be reported later.

    • Ripsnorter1

      What’s the hurry?

      • Aaron

        oops…see my post below…it was meant to go here. Like I said, Cowley was joking, it’s nothing imminent, just him wanting to be the first to say it, just stating the obvious, basically, is what he was doing, as he did with Danks, saying he’d get a huge deal.

    • paulcatanese

      I agree with Rip on this one.”whats the hurry”. The Cubs may be jumping the gun on this one. Not convinced that Castro will produce in a three or four year deal. Even though he hits, his weakness’s are being exploited right now, and is swinging at too many balls(even though he connects) and is less than patient at the plate. I like him,always have,but lets hold off a little more and see if he can come out of this. It looks as though the Cubs are banking on potential rather than a proven situation. The defense with him is not improving at a rate that would indicate the extension of a contract right now, again some “If’s” here.

    • studio179

      Got it.

  • Aaron

    Just FYI, at 20 yrs old, Hak-Ju Lee has the following line in high-A right now:
    .414/.469/.621, 18 runs, 36 hits, 4 doubles, 4 triples, 2 hr, 7 RBI, 7 SB, 9 walks vs 17 K’s….all of this is in 20 games, which is about 10 less than the current crop of Cubs minor leaguers.

    The guys with the most hits in the Cubs system are:
    Montanez-40
    Ha-40
    LeMahieu-39
    Lake-37
    Ridling-36

    The reason I bring this fact up, is I still cannot get over the Garza deal. Guyer already homered in his first MLB AB before being optioned down, Fuld contributed as well at the MLB level, and Lee is on fire in the minors. Chirinos and Archer are the main disappointments, but they’ll likely turn it around.

    Garza is a good pitcher, but not a great one, and he’s already entering expensive arbitration years. I question the deal from the start because of that very fact.

    A lineup with Lee, Szczur, Jackson, and Castro at the top, sure would’ve been exciting, huh?

    Yes, one with Jackson, Szczur, LeMahieu, and Castro could be just as good, but with all the speed that Lee offers, it would’ve wreaked havoc on opposing teams.

    And if Archer turns it around, the Cubs realistically could’ve had a rotation of: McNutt, Archer, Whitenack, Cashner, and my darkhorse candidate, Austin Kirk in 2012.

    And we could’ve been looking at a rotation that made a combined $2 million, and a 1-4 in the order that made a combined $1.6 million. Then, the cost of pursuing power hitting 1B such as Pujols or Fielder would be much more palatable in the amount of payroll they’ll take up.

    The Cubs are sitting at 3 games under .500, and 4 games out of 1st place. Given how hot the Cardinals have been recently, and with the big bats of Rasmus, Holliday, and Berkman with a cold-hitting Pujols that’s likely to heat up at any time, they just might run away with the division, especially if they sweep the Cubs (which, in my opinion is almost a given, if not winning 2 of 3 at the very least)…..and all of that for a team “earning” nearly $140 million…is just disgraceful.

    Guys like Pena ($10 million), ARAM ($16 million), Fukudome ($14 million), Dempster ($13 million), Zambrano ($18 million), Soriano ($19 million…yes, even in spite of his 11 hr) “earn” a combined $90 million, and not a single one of them, save for maybe Soriano is coming close to earning their paycheck.

    I’m sick of watching the same old story over and over again, and I don’t understand why the Ricketts, and especially Hendry, haven’t changed their strategy.

    I don’t know if they’ve looked around the league, but going young doesn’t mean you have to endure losing. It might for some teams, who don’t have the talent the Cubs have in the minors, but for the Cubs, it’d likely mean a lot more wins than they’re on track for.

    just sayin’…..

    • Ripsnorter1

      Come on, Aaron. Get over the Garza deal. You totally miss the point: we got Fernando Perez in the deal. He’s a stud! He’s hitting .179 in AAA, and he can’t catch a cold. It was a tremendous acquistion! Tonight Garza will no hit the Cards, Pirates, Reds, Mets, Yanks and BoSox, all in one game. The trade was another Great acquisition by Jim Clueless.

    • cubtex

      Lee is in High A ball! Get back to me in 2 years!

      • Tony_Hall

        We will, and he will be still hitting :)

        • cubtex

          I didn’t know you can predict the future on players?

          • Tony_Hall

            Don’t we all, even you predict the future of players, everyday on the CCO.

          • cubtex

            Not players in A ball. I was there dude. I have seen a lot of could be’s and would be’s. Lee is not even close yet!

          • Tony_Hall

            Not all A ball players are projected to even go to AA. But some are looked at as going to be a major leaguer, how good of one is TBD.

            Lee has been watched by people on this site, that I trust their reports.

        • cubtex

          Tony, Lee hit .282 in A ball last year with 485 AB’s. Please do explain to me this unbridled confidence on how he will be hitting in 2 years. Maybe you can tell Hendry who will still be hitting and progressing? Will Junior Lake? Will Micah Gibbs? Will Reggie Golden? Please do share your wisdom.

          • Tony_Hall

            What made you think Garza could win 15 games for the Cubs this year?

            It’s an opinion! You seem to have alot of them as well.

    • paulcatanese

      Agree,Aaron and the Brewers are not going to stay where they are either. It does give the indication that the Cubs are going to finish ahead of only Huston. Pirates look as though they have it on the right track and will have a decent year ahead of them. Not looking forward to the Cardinals here. And the Cubs and their denial of the youth movement will hurt them this year.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Are you saying, that in the long run, talent rises to the top?

    • cubs1967

      just sayin……

      only fuld has been a MLB producer and now his flaws are showing…donw to .250.
      chirinios is at .177 in the minors so please…….soto and castillo are much better.
      guyer is in the minors and so is Lee so until they are at MLB levels this means nothing……….see Vitters, Pagel, Corey Patterson, Felix Pie, Jake Fox, for a list of Cubs greats who have been MLB busts (or in vitters case not even there yet)
      archer could not hit a barn if he was in the stall

      to date garza is pitching in the majors and better than demp or Z; all the guys the cubs traded are in the minors or fuld seeing why he is only a part-timer OF at best.

      in 2 yrs min.; maybe 3 depending on lee we’ll know. so far, a cubs steal for minor league whatevers

      • cubtex

        Exactly. How many prospects flourished in High A ball and were never heard of again when they struggled after being promoted? It is not easy to make it the majors despite what some people might say. I will take very good young starter like Garza for what they gave up any day! Fuld is a career .275 hitter in the minors. Guyer is a 4th or 5th outfielder who hit a homer in his first MLB at bat(congrtats) but then struck out in his next 2 and was sent down. Archer’s hits to innings pitched this year is awful,Chirinos probably will be at best a back up(if that) and Lee is in High A ball. As I have said before…..I would do the trade again in a heartbeat!

        • Keith Moreland

          A few things should be noted:

          1. Matt Garza currently is #4 in the NL in WAR according to Fangraphs; he has had terrible luck this year, both of the BABIP kind, and of the inherited runners/bullpen support kind. He has actually pitched VERY well.

          2. Chirinos is 27 years old and batting .177 at Durham. Next.

          3. Hak Ju Lee DOES look good; I think he’s for real

          4. Sam Fuld? To paraphrase Denny Green, he is what we thought he was: Light-hitting guy who can take a walk, but projects as only a 5th OF-er. He is batting .254 now, and “The Legend of Sam Fuld” is fading.

          5. ARCHER is still a good prospect. Who knows, maybe we did “sell high” there

          The Jury is way way out on this trade for now. At one time, Bobby Hill, Hee Seop Choi, Felix Pie, Sean Gallagher, et all looked like “Can’t Miss” prospects. Prospects frequently MISS; that’s why proven ML-ers like Garza are so valuable.

          • cubtex

            Totally agree on prospects for a proven guy. You roll the dice sometimes and might lose…like Beckett for Hanley Ramirez….but in most cases you will win trading prospects for a proven guy. It is not like the Cubs dealt can’t miss kids here. All these kids can miss. Guys from A ball are a long long away from the majors.

          • GrantJones7

            Of course hak is real, he will be the deal breaker in 2 years (next year?) when hes ROY.

    • GrantJones7

      And HJL missed the first week and a half of the season, he woulda been at 50 hits by now.

  • Aaron

    It was a joke. He’s stating the obvious, just as he did with John Danks. He’s stating it tongue-in-cheek. Basically, he just wants to say he’s the first one to say it….LOL

  • gocubs

    Jackson CF

    Fukudome RF

    Ramirez 3B

    Soto C

    Castro SS

    Pena 1B

    Soriano LF

    Barney 2B