Originally written June 26, 2013 on Fox Sports Midwest:
ST. LOUIS -- Ryan Jackson hadn't heard. The praise, bestowed by St. Louis Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak before a Cardinals game last week, took its sweet time getting down to Memphis. Mozeliak had been sitting in the Cardinals' dugout when the subject turned to Jackson. The utility infielder currently playing for the Cardinals' Triple-A affiliate in Memphis has been great at the plate this season, so much so that he's forcing himself into the Redbirds' lineup -- as well as back onto the Cardinals' radar. "He's having just an outstanding offensive year," Mozeliak said at the time. "I think, in Jackson's case, playing him everywhere right now is most important. His value continues to grow as he continues to hit. It's good to see." That quote didn't hit Jackson's ears until he chatted with me Tuesday afternoon. "That's great news," he said. Missed opportunities at the plate hurt Jackson's chances of sticking during previous stints with the Cardinals. He played 13 games in 2012 and two more early this season, acquiring just two hits in 20 at-bats during that time. But since his most recent demotion, which came when David Freese came off the disabled list in April, he has made strides. Jackson's .320 batting average is currently the highest of any active Memphis player. He has a .395 on-base percentage, a .434 slugging percentage and an on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS) of .828. In 256 at-bats, he has three home runs and 24 RBIs. "Working with Cardinals hitting coach John Mabry, and even former Cardinals hitting coach Mark McGwire when I was up last year, there were some things that really triggered in my mind," Jackson said. "It's really helped out. A lot of it is just the mental aspect, in terms of having a real solid approach at the plate and having a feel for what the pitcher is going to try to do to you to get you out." Jackson is comfortable playing shortstop, second base and third base, and he has bounced around this year in Memphis. While that makes him more marketable, his biggest ally right now is his bat. He is competing against prized prospect Kolten Wong, a middle infielder and Jackson's Memphis teammate. Jackson's and Wong's numbers are actually pretty similar. Wong's batting average is one tick lower (.319), and his on-base percentage is not as high (.368). But the 22-year-old beats Jackson in slugging percentage (.471) and OPS (.839). In 20 more at-bats than Jackson, Wong has homered five times and totaled 25 RBIs. Jackson strikes out more often (52 times compared to Wong's 39), but also draws more walks (34 compared to Wong's 22). Right now, Jackson's only option is to keep hitting. The Cardinals' infield isn't in need of immediate attention. But Jackson has earned the right to be a potential piece in the puzzle if a shift has to occur at some point this season. "He's reestablished himself in the organization," Mozeliak said. That's good news for Jackson, whether he hears it or not. Follow Ben Frederickson on Twitter (@Ben_Fred), or email him at frederickson.ben@gmail.com.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Royals beat A's in extras, win first playoff game since '85

Mark Davis: Raiders head coaching job will be 'enticing'

Fan on Craigslist offers Nats playoff tickets for threesome

Brady snubs rookie Garoppolo after touchdown pass

Cung Le suspended for failed HGH test

FCC Chairman: Washington nickname 'inappropriate today'

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Brain study finds 76 of 79 deceased NFL players had CTE

Tony Sparano to step in as Raiders head coach

Eli on Geno Smith: If fans yell at you, you probably deserve it

49ers players come out in support of Jim Harbaugh

Raiders reportedly expected to make a run at Jon Gruden

FCC unanimously ends sports blackout rule

MLB.com posts wrong story saying A's won game

WATCH: Brett Favre in new nose hair trimmer commercial

WATCH: Michigan students protest, call for AD to be fired

Marlins president: We're not trading Giancarlo Stanton

Heckling Knicks fan suing team over ejection

This weekend in NFL stupid

Kobe: Iggy Azalea has had better career than Swaggy P

College football's post-Week 5 playoff projection

Oregon to don pink-themed unis for breast cancer awareness

Is DeMarco Murray the best RB in the NFL?

WATCH: TBS sends up 'Boom Goes the Dynamite' with promo

Ilya Bryzgalov takes photos with fans while on the bench

Cardinals News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

WATCH: Brett Favre in new commercial

Brady snubs rookie after TD pass

FCC: Washington nickname 'inappropriate today'

Could Jon Gruden return to Oakland?

Marlins: We're not trading Stanton

Study: 76 of 79 deceased NFL players had CTE

Heckling fan sues Knicks over ejection

Sparano to step in as Raiders head coach

This weekend in NFL stupid

Kobe chooses Iggy over Swaggy P

Is DeMarco Murray the NFL's best RB?

Ilya Bryzgalov takes photos with fans while on the bench

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.