Cubs Agree to Terms with #1 Pick
The Cubs have agreed to terms with their 2009 #1 draft pick, Cal junior CF Brett Jackson.
A 20-year old left-handed hitter (he turns 21 in August), Jackson was a pre-season All-American and was named to the 2009 All-PAC 10 team. He hit 321/407/564 with 8 HR & 41 RBI, 17 doubles, six triples, 11 SB (5 CS), and 29/61 BB/K in 253 PA overall, but only 236/320/445 in PAC-10 conference play.
Once he passes his physical, I would expect Jackson to be assigned to Boise, although he might spend a week at Fitch Park first, depending on what kind of baseball shape he's in (Cal's season ended several weeks ago).
I have seen Jackson play in college, and while he is a good defensive outfielder with plus-speed, he really needs to work on his hitting (too many swings & misses). He reminds me of Cliff Andersen and Drew Rundle, two other left-handed hitting "athletic" outfielders in the Cubs system who also have struggled to make contact.
While there is no question that Jackson has lots of potential, right now I would describe him as a bit overrated. I actually like Arizona State CF (and Northbrook native) Jason Kipnis better than Jackson. (Kipnis was named PAC-10 Player of the Year and was selected by Cleveland in the 2nd round). While Jackson might be the better "athlete," Kipnis is just a better all-around baseball player, in my opinion.
Jackson made his mark with the scouts while playing in the Cape Cod League ("wood bat" collegiate league) last summer, where he was rated the #8 prospect despite hitting only .238.
The Cubs have now signed 18 of their 50 selections in this month's Rule 4 Draft (First-Year Player Draft), including four of their Top 10 picks. Besides Jackson, the Cubs have also signed 5th round pick SS Wes Darvill (Langley, BC), 8th round pick RHP Robert Whitenack (SUNY - Old Westbury), and 10th round pick 3B Charles Thomas (Edward Waters College). Whitenack (who throws the Burt Hooton-like "knuckle-curve") is assigned to Boise and Thomas is assigned to the AZL Cubs at Fitch Park, while the 17-year old Darvill is presently touring in the U. S. and Cuba with the Canadian Junior National team, after-which he will report to Fitch Park.
2nd round pick 2B D. J. LeMahieu is currently playing for LSU in the College World Series (deciding game is tonight), so if the Cubs can sign him quickly once the CWS is over, he would probably go directly to Boise. Cubs GM Jim Hendry has been attending the CWS in Omaha, where his good friend Pat Mainieri is the head coach for LSU (Mainieri was the long-time Notre Dame head baseball coach prior to moving down to Baton Rouge).