Surprise – The Chicago Cubs have a ton of potential options in terms of outfielders, and even though he hasn’t really shown much flash up until this point in the spring, Brett Jackson loudly reminded team brass that he is still around.
While the attention of most Cubs fans was on the team’s game in Las Vegas against the New York Mets on Saturday afternoon, Jackson exploded against the Royals with a home run and five RBI as the Cubs knocked off KC by a score of 6-5.
Going into the game, Jackson has been having a tough go of it in limited time this spring. He only had one hit in 11 at-bats so far, with four strikeouts and five walks to go along with his .111 batting average. His OBP was .385 before his outburst against the Royals, but he still has a lot more work to do if he is going to get any real shot at making the 25-man roster out of camp.
Jackson has largely been a disappointment during his tenure as a Cub. In 142 plate appearances with the North Siders during the 2012 season, Jackson had just four home runs and nine RBI, and struck out 59 times. In 2013, Jackson never did appear in an MLB game, but played contests at three different levels of the Cubs’ organization. In all, he had 367 plate appearances, with six home runs, 27 RBI, and an OBP of just .296. He also struck out 121 times, a number that is simply too high.
All of that being said, the Cubs’ front office still has to be rooting for Jackson to at least do something constructive, if for no other reason than to ship him to another team. With youngsters like Jorge Soler and Albert Almora slowly making their way through the system, and the real possibility that a guy like Starlin Castro or Kris Bryant could end up having to make a switch to the outfield when prospects begin making their big league debuts, Jackson is definitely a redundant asset, and could be dealt if the Cubs can get decent value for him.
Even with all of those caveats, there will still be fans pressing for Jackson to make his way onto the roster this season. Having players like Nate Schierholtz, Justin Ruggiano, and Junior Lake will likely block the pipeline for Jackson at season’s beginning, but if any of those guys start to struggle (especially Lake), then Jackson could end up gaining more support.