Brett Jackson Making It Look Easy

PEORIA — Brett Jackson became the 31st pick of the 2009 draft when the Chicago Cubs selected him in June. He finished his college baseball career in May at the University of California as a junior and hit .321 with eight home runs and 41 RBI, and earned All-Pac 10 honors as the Golden Bears' leadoff hitter.

Jackson said he was excited to see an organization such as the Cubs draft him because he knew contract negotiations would be painless and he could get back to the game he loves.

"When I was drafted by the Cubs, I knew it was going to be an easy sign," Jackson said. "We wanted it to go as smoothly as possible. I wanted to get going with my career as quickly as possible and get the uniform on and get playing. I have a hard time staying away from the game for too long."

Jackson has also found it hard to stay at one level for too long. Since signing a $972,000 contract at Wrigley Field on June 26, he has traveled to Mesa, Ariz., (Rookie) Boise, Idaho (short-season A-ball), and now Peoria (Class-A).

At Mesa, he played three games and collected five hits, four RBI, and a plane ticket to Boise. Jackson batted .330 (29-88) in 24 games with a home run, 15 RBI, and a pair of stolen bases for the Hawks. On July 31, he was promoted to Peoria.

"It's been kind of a whirlwind," Jackson said. "I've just kind of been thrown into (action), but on my own terms. It's been a great experience so far. I started off at a great place and so far I have been in the presence of great coaching and really good teammates, so it's been a really easy transition for me."

Hitting the ball at all levels has come easy for Jackson and he shows no signs of slowing down in Peoria. In 19 games he is hitting .301 (25-83) with five home runs, 14 RBI, and has swiped 10 bags while only being caught once.

Speed is another weapon of the Chiefs' leadoff hitter that manager Marty Pevey believes has not fully been showcased yet.

"He has tremendous speed," Pevey said. "He hasn't had the chance to really show it here, but his first game when he first got here, he stole (two) bases and two more the next day. People don't realize yet that this kid can run."

Jackson's speed has helped him make the transition from each level in the outfield, including from college to pro baseball parks. However, Jackson sees baseball as the game being played no differently between wooden or aluminum bats.

"I always say baseball is going to be baseball no matter what type of bat you put in the opposition's hand," Jackson said. "It is a different game when it comes to metal and wood, but you still shag a fly ball, run it down hard, pick it up and throw it. I've played with wooden bats before throughout high school and college, so that hasn't been a difficult transition for me."

Another easy aspect for Jackson thus far is his ability to adjust to the pitching as he moves up the organization.

"You keep making adjustments and improve yourself as a hitter," Jackson said. "So far I've worked really hard to make adjustments with my swing and to improve my swing in different ways and improve my game."

"I recognize that it is early in my career. I know I have a lot of time to work and grow as an athlete and a baseball player. It's something I take pride in and I look to expand in the future."

With being a top pick, another item of Jackson's that is expanding is his wallet. But Jackson's father has been a positive influence in his financial decision-making and he does not want to waste his entire signing bonus and paycheck on immaterial items at the moment.

"My father is a smart business man and he has really helped me so far," Jackson said. "I did buy a car, but it's stuck in Boise right now. That's all I've really spent. My dad always told me growing up, you work hard for something and earn something, buy yourself a toy. So I bought myself a toy. Other than that, I'm trying to be as smart with money as I can."

Because Jackson loves to play baseball so much, and because he shows it on the field, the fans have picked up on his energy as well.

On August 12 against the Burlington Bees, he hit a three-run home run in the fifth inning. Some of the Bees' fans were sitting by the Chiefs' on-deck circle and heckled him about his home run. In the eighth inning, Jackson hit another home run down the left field line and tipped his cap to them as he crossed home plate.

"They were giving me some heck," Jackson said. "They wanted me to roll into a double play. They bet me $20 I couldn't (hit a home run) again. So I had to do it again. I don't think they are waiting around to give me a $20 bill. You go out and play hard and play to win, and sometimes the results take care of themselves."

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