Obviously, the future on the North Side of Chicago is already an exciting one, simply because of the overhaul that took place in the front office this offseason.
But spring training also reminds us of how the players on the field can make us excited about the future as well, even if the Cubs do have a farm system down in the bottom half of the league, for now at least.
One of the big names attempting to force his way out of that system and onto the big league roster is Brett Jackson.
Jackson’s name is nothing new to the Cubs and their fans, as he’s been watched very closely for the past year or so, especially as the Cubs enter complete rebuilding mode. Even with the Cubs far out of contention last September, Jackson still has yet to make his Major League debut.
Few expect that debut to come when the Cubs open the season at the beginning of April, but Jackson is doing his best to at least make the decision a tough one for the Cubs’ brass.
As of right now, the Cubs’ starting outfield is set. Alfonso Soriano is set to return in left field, much to the chagrin of most of Chicago, Marlon Byrd will be back in center field for the final year of his contract, and David DeJesus joins the Cubs as the starting right fielder and leadoff man.
There’s been plenty of speculation that one of Soriano or Byrd could be traded, but that has yet to happen. Once it eventually does, much of the rationale behind it will be to open up a spot for Jackson in the outfield.
Jackson has had a very strong spring so far, particularly with his bat, but his game goes far beyond that. He’s considered a potential five-tool talent, and has the speed, the glove, and the arm to add to what he does with the bat.
As strong as his performance has been, both in camp and in the exhibition games, it’s still highly likely Jackson starts the season in Iowa. After all, you’re not going to call up a top prospect for him to sit the bench. Just like Anthony Rizzo, when we see Jackson depends on health and performance of everyday players, as well as a potential trade, which would be of Byrd more than likely.
But Jackson is making a statement this spring, and he’s going to force his way onto this big league roster sooner or later. I’d expect sooner.