One of the most compelling storylines in Iowa this year is going to be the development of Brett Jackson. Brett Jackson came to Chicago last year and was what was expected of him. He can run well and plays a good defensive center. He has some pop, and he strikes out, a lot. Strikes out are not always the indicator of a bad offensive player, but the historic rates that Brett Jackson struck out at meant that his ability to be a productive offensive player was virtually none.
Brett Jackson begins the year in Iowa trying to take his new swing into game situations, and deliver all the positives of his game with a lowered strikeout rate. Many of you I am sure are checking the boxscores to see how many times Brett Jackson struck out in his debut, twice if you didn’t know. But those numbers only give you part of the picture. I am going to break down his at bats. I will also give you some information about the pitchers Brett Jackson faced. Hopefully this will give a more complete picture of Brett Jackson’s progress
Plate Appearance 1
The opposing pitcher was Stephen Fife. The name might be familar to Cubs fans because he was one of many people suggested as a possible target from the Dodgers for Ryan Dempster. Fife made it up to the big leagues last year and pitched well in five starts. He does not throw particularly hard. The one speed given was an 86 mile on hour fastball, but he is capable of reaching the low 90s. He tries to sink the ball and does not rack up large strikeout numbers. His curveball can be an outpitch for him at times as well.
In the first plate appearance Brett Jackson took a fastball for a called strike. The next pitch was a fastball that bounced in the dirt and clipped Jackson for a hit by pitch.
Plate Appearance 2
Brett Jackson came to the plate with Logan Watkins standing at first base and no outs in the third inning. Fife was still in the game at this point. It appeared like Jackson got three fastballs. Jackson swung through the first one. He fouled off the second and then he hit a high hard bouncer up the middle past Fife on the third one.
Plate Appearance 3
Brett Jackson lead off the fifth inning. Fife was removed from the game at this point and Jackson was the first batter to face righty reliever Red Patterson. Patterson throws a fastball in the low 90s, and has a spike curve as his offspeed pitch.
Patterson got ahead by throwing two straight fastballs at the bottom of the strikezone. The next fastball was chopped foul down the right field line by Jackson. It appeared like Patterson threw the spiked curve on the fourth pitch which Jackson swung over the top of. The pitch ended up in the dirt when the catcher caught it.
Plate Appearance 4
The sixth inning saw Brett Jackson come up to bat with 2 outs and a runner in scoring position. The Dodgers had sent in lefty reliever Geison Aguasviva. The lefty works mostly in the high 80s. He also throws a slider and a changeup, which he rarely uses.
Aguasviva started Jackson off with a good slider for a called strike. Aguasviva missed with his next two fastballs. The first one was in the dirt and the second was very close. Jackson swung and missed on an 86 mph fastball on pitch four. The fifth pitch was again in the dirt to run the count full. Jackson hit the sixth pitch deep, but he did not make good contact with the ball. The ball just kept carrying in the thin air of Albuquerque, despite the installation of a humidor it seems. The OF ended up making the catch near the warning track and his momentum carried him into the wall.
Plate Appearance 5
Josh Wall was the final reliever for the night for the Isotopes. Wall has a live arm capable of hitting the high 90s with his fastball. He also has developed a split finger as an out pitch against lefty bats.
Wall started him off with a 92 mph fastball called a strike. He threw the next fastball in the dirt. Jackson ripped the next pitch foul. He was well in front of that pitch as he pulled it down the right field line and out of play. The next pitch was the split in the dirt which Jackson swung over the top. The catcher dropped the ball and had to throw to first to end Jackson’s night.