Jackson Shows His Potential

Class-A Daytona won the Florida State League championship on Tuesday, and it's fair to say the pitching of right-hander Jay Jackson played a big part in their successful post-season run.

Jackson, a versatile 2008 ninth-round draft pick out of Furman University that also doubled as an infielder/outfielder while in college, was promoted from Class-A Peoria late in the second half of the season. (He'd previously been promoted to Peoria from Class Low-A short-season Boise.)

His early success in Peoria (2-2, 3.00 ERA in 24 innings) gave him the opportunity and confidence to be moved up to Daytona in early August.

"I still need to get my velocity up a little bit [on my fastball], but ... it's getting the job done, so I can't be too picky," Jackson said recently.

In his Daytona debut back on August 7, Jackson pitched four impressive shutout innings, striking out nine and walking just one batter.

His repertoire includes a fastball (90-93 mph) and sharp slider.

"Jackson has a breaking ball that he can overmatch a guy with, and that combined with his fastball, he can punch someone out any time," Cubs pitching coach David Rosario said.

And Jackson did his share of giving players that sheepish walk back to the dugout this past season. He pitched in four regular-season games with Daytona, striking out 21 batters and walking just seven in 17 innings pitched.

Overall, Jackson struck out 72 batters in 50 regular-season innings.

But Jackson's biggest win and finest appearance in his professional career to date came in the most vital part of the season: the playoffs.

His gathering storm was released in his only post-season start on September 7, causing a world of hurt for the Fort Myers Miracle. He allowed four hits, no walks, and struck out five batters over 5 2/3 innings in a 9-1 victory over the league's runner-up.

This was Jackson's longest outing with the Cubs.

Two days later, Daytona went on to win the Florida State League, which they and Fort Myers led in ERA (3.51) at the end of the regular season.

"His breaking ball has a lot of quality, and hopefully we're developing him as a minor league player because he's got a major league arm," said Rosario.

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