DOB: 05/07/82, Age: 22, Height: 6’3’’,
Bats: R, Throws: R
Acquired: Arizona Diamondbacks - 1st Round Draft Pick 2003
2004 Stats: (Double A - El Paso Diablos)
60 GAMES: .301 AVG, 6 HR, 37 RBI, 68 H, 33 R,
.367 OBP, .456 SLG.
2004 Stats: (Single A - Lancaster Jethawks)
67 GAMES: .345 AVG, 11 HR, 54 RBI, 89 H, 64 R,
.438 OBP, .562 SLG.
Quick name five Arizona Diamondbacks, not named Luis Gonzalez, who manned the outfield for the worst team in baseball in 2004.
Having trouble? Well, it's not like you have a shortage of guys to choose from. The Diamondbacks trotted out a total of 12 different outfielders over the course of the 2004 season.
Aside from Gonzalez who missed the final month plus of the regular season, and Steve Finley who escaped to Los Angeles prior to the trade deadline, the Arizona outfield was a who's who of players the casual fan would likely have never known existed.
In alphabetical order we have Doug Devore, Andy Green, Scott Hairston, Robby Hammock, Josh Kroeger, Quentin McCracken, Tim Olson, Donnie Sadler, Luis Terrero and Chad Tracy.
I tell you all of this because the Diamondbacks, their outfield at least, could quite possibly have a savior for 2005 in the form of 22 year old slugger Conor Jackson.
For the last two seasons, Jackson, a first baseman in college, has been giving Diamondbacks fans a reason to hope.
The 2003 1st Round Pick out of the University of California hit a combined .324, 17 HR, 91 RBI's while splitting the season between Single-A Lancaster and Double-A El Paso during the 2004 season. This came on the heals of a 2003 Northwest League MVP season in his first taste as a pro.
Jackson has carried his career year over to the Arizona Fall League where through 19 games, Jackson is batting .361, leading the AFL in Home Runs with 6, and has tallied 19 RBI's.
During his three seasons of college ball with the Golden Bears, Jackson improved his average every season and earned First Team Pac 10 and Third Team All America honors following a .388, 10 HR, 44 RBI, junior year.
In addition, Jackson excelled in International competition as a member of the US National Team in 2002, batting .312 over the team's 30 game season.
He is very mature for his age, has great power potential, and is fairly patient at the plate, striking out 82 times while drawing 67 walks in 484 at bats in 2004.
Given all of the personnel moves in the outfield this past season, and with what Jackson has shown in his first two seasons as a pro, I see no reason why Arizona would not give Jackson every opportunity to earn a big league job out of spring training.
While it may take him a season to make the needed adjustments to major league pitching, Jackson is a kid who has All-star potential and would project as a .290, 25 HR, 90 RBI, a year player in the major leagues.
I would recommend drafting Jackson as a mid to late round pick in most fantasy drafts, and if you are in a keeper league, there is no reason for you not to have him already.