Cubs select Cal outfielder Brett Jackson
With the 31st selection of the 2009 MLB First-Year Player Draft, the Chicago Cubs selected Cal outfielder Brett Jackson.
Jackson is an elite athlete who plays like his hair’s on fire. Patrolling centerfield for the Cal Bears, the 6-2, 210-pound Jackson is strong and muscular, with above-average speed and excellent range.
While his arm is average at best, he will make up for a short arm with long effort, diving for liners, chasing down balls in the gaps.
“I didn’t really model myself after any particular outfielder,” Jackson said during a teleconference. “But I’ve been most compared to Jim Edmonds. Honestly, I try to model myself after a bunch of players. I like how Derek Jeter is respected and goes about his business. But I also like how Edmonds played.”
Jackson hit .321 with eight homers and 41 RBIs and 11 steals for the Golden Bears this season.
However, Jackson also struck out a team-high 61 times in just 218 at-bats this year. Jackson believes his athleticism will allow him to overcome the strikeouts, and in fact, they were an abberation.
“I haven’t been a big strikeout guy in my career,” Jackson said. “But athleticism is one of my main assets….I continually work on all aspects of my game.”
On his 19th birthday, Jackson travelled to Chicago and took in a Cubs game. He was playing in the wood-bat Northwoods League in Wisconsin and on an off-day decided to visit the “Friendly Confines.”
“It was overwhelming,” Jackson said. “You just feel the history there–and the fans are the best in baseball.”
Jackson said he has always been a Cubs fan, but more so a fan of the mascot.
“Once a bear, always a bear,” he laughed.
The Cubs also selected LSU second baseman D.J. LeMahieu in the second round and Owasso (Texas) High School left-hander Austin Kirk in the third.