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).
~shrug~ he's CB Bucknor, he's usually awful.
But today he called 2 pitches balls that really looked like strikes, one looked particularly obvious. Even Arrieta jawed at him and that's rare for Arrieta. He also didn't bother to ask anyone or notice Molina clearly reaching his arm out to get hit intentionally.
Lastella not having much of one either (diving stop notwithstanding but should have been unnecessary if he made earlier play).
What's wrong with his strike zone? Just inconsistent?
CB Bucknor not having a good day....
Jesse Rogers [email protected] Yeah, there was plenty of chatter before the game about home plate ump today. Knew he would be a factor.
Jake Arrieta gives up first inning run
For the first time in a year, 33 starts.
Old news, sorry if it's 3/44-
J-Hey being classy by repaying an old teammate:
With Paredes moving to 3B, how do you see playing time shaking out between him and Galindo? Do you think Galindo gets starts at 1B? Galindo is more of a prospect than Paniagua, right?
Phil, your knowledge of the Cubs Minor League system is unbelievable.
This kid would be a key piece in a trade for a pitcher, imo.
This might be old news but Hammel was on ESPN 1000 and said that he changed his diet and workout routine over the off season and tweaked his delivery so it'd be more repeatable so he'd have a better second half. So...some cause for optimism anyway.
CHILDERS: RHSP Dylan Cease and LHSP Bryan Hudson are probably the top two SP prospects in the organization right now.
LHSP Jose Paulino has electric stuff (91-94 MPH fastball with sinking action and a mid-80's slider), but he also has trouble commanding it.
RHP Jose Albertos (2015 IFA - Mexico - $1.5M bonus) just turned 17 in November, and his fastball already sits at 95-96. He also throws a curve and a change-up, and is fairly advanced for a kid his age.
AZBOBBOP: Most of 2016 draft picks will get assigned to either Eugene or AZL Cubs, but the Opening Day Eugune roster will probably be almost 100% from the Extended Spring Training squad roster (pending the arrival of draft picks).
I think I can probably tell you which pitchers and players at EXST are in contention for roster slots at Eugene and which are in contention for slots with the AZL Cubs - AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW - (listed alphabetically):
* bats or throws left
# bats both
Eloy Jimenez atop the leader board for minor-league home runs in the Cub system, with seven. Tied with Balaguert and Vogelbach, two 24-year-olds. Jimenez won't be 20 until late November. Leads the Midwest League in SLG and OPS. Maybe he'll get promoted to the Myrtle Beach squad that visits Woodbridge, VA, in June or Frederick, MD, in August.
Watched two Pelican games at Frederick the other week. Was most impressed by Stinnett and Happ. Happ may swing harder than Javier Baez, though more compactly. (Also got to see Brockmeyer hit a bomb.)
E-MAN: Jose Paniagua isn't a string-bean, but I wouldn't say he necessarily bulked-up during the 2015-16 off-season either, He led the DSL Cubs in HR and doubles in 2014, and he showed XBH power when he arrived in Mesa last year, leading the AZL Cubs in HR, doubles, and RBI in 2015. It's just that he has taken his HR power to a new level this year.
Paniagua displayed plus-HR power in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training games in March, and that got him a slot on the South Bend Opening Day roster. But he was sent to EXST after only six MWL games.
More on the Cub Way.