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Top Prospect Alert - Nic Jackson

By Schuyler Dombroske

DOB: 9/25/79, Age: 22, Height: 6í4íí, Weight: 205, Bats: R, Throws: R. Acquired: Cubs - Drafted 3rd Round of 2000 Draft (U. of Richmond). 2000 Stats: (Sseason-A - Eugene) .255 AVG, 294 AB, 12 2B, 7 3B, 6 HR, 25 SB, 22 BB, 64 K, .308 OBP, .405 SLG. 2001 Stats: (High-A - Daytona) .296 AVG, 503 AB, 30 2B, 6 3B, 19 HR, 24 SB, 39 BB, 96 K, .355 OBP, .493 SLG.
 
   The depth of the Cubs system can be easily illustrated by the fact that Nic Jackson, as good as he is, might not be one of their top ten prospects. Jackson is an outfield prospect in an organization that is loaded just about everywhere but outfield. After showing a bit of power and speed after signing in 2000, Jackson improved his strength this season while moving up two levels. Nic clubbed 55 extra-base hits at Daytona this year, including 19 homers, and stole 24 bases to boot. He doesnít project to have tremendous power, but heíll hit enough to bat above the last few spots in the order. His success rate stealing bases was rather poor this season (24 for 34), but he was 25 for 28 in 2000, so heís capable of stealing bases in a Paul OíNeill sort of way. Jackson is capable defensively without being stellar, both with the glove and arm strength. As with most young hitters, his strike zone judgment needs to improve. Nic is a very aggressive hitter, and I wouldnít expect him to become much better at drawing walks, which certainly puts a ceiling on how good he can be.
 
   The Cubs are set for the time being with White, Patterson, and Sosa in the outfield. White is as brittle as anyone in the game, and there arenít many better options for the Cubs (except maybe Wonder Hamster, Matt Stairs) anywhere in the system than Jackson. Being a college hitter, he needs to continue to move through the organization to have an impact. I would expect him to start in AA next season, and potentially make the majors in 2004. The Cubs may be ready to replace White at that time: heíll be 32 at that point. Actually, Jackson might not have a ceiling to far from White as a player, with a little less speed and a little more suspect defense. He probably wonít ever be a star, but he could be a decent major leaguer. Iíd say heís about 50/50 to be a major league starter within five years.


 

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