All it took was one game for Brett Jackson of the Chicago Cubs to convince Cubs fans that he can be the strength at the plate this team is looking for.
Jackson, who was criticized for his high strike-out numbers in 2012, wowed his teammates during the first Spring Training game on Saturday by hitting two triples against the Los Angeles Angels.
The 24-year-old spent his off-season in the batting cages, working on improving his swing, and it seems to have paid off after his performance this weekend. “I can be a force at the plate instead of battling like I did,” Jackson said of the lessons he’s learned since last season.
Jackson’s sudden changes at the plate have been compared to teammate Anthony Rizzo, who also struggled as a batter when he first made his Major League debut with the San Diego Padres in 2011. Rizzo recalled his early days in the big leagues stating, “I got away with it at lower levels, but I realized I needed to make adjustments. It is simplifying, especially with two strikes, trying to get down early and put the ball in play and realizing I don’t need to hit a home run every time.”
Sounds a lot like what Jackson learned over the off-season while working on hitting with Dale Sveum.
“I’ve worked really hard this offseason. To make a muscle memory type adjustment is a pain. … To see results is good. I’m going to keep pounding on that to keep reinforcing so it is second nature,” said Jackson.
It has already been announced that Jackson will open the season with the Triple-A Iowa, but if he can keep hitting and getting on base, it probably won’t be long until he is in Chicago for good.