Back in April I wondered if Brett Jackson was one of the three best outfielders in the Cubs organization. The conclusion at the time was that Jackson was certainly one of the three best on the team. In fact, his projections were similar to Kosuke Fukudome‘s, but considering Jackson would play CF he was projected to be more valuable over a similar number of plate appearances. Marlon Byrd was the best outfielder the Cubs had at the time and Jackson was second. If the Cubs went with their best outfield at that time last year it would have been Marlon Byrd in LF, Brett Jackson in CF and Kosuke Fukudome in RF. Not that it matters or would have mattered. The Cubs weren’t reaching the postseason with that outfield.
I took a look at the projections for the Cubs outfielders. I used CAIRO, Oliver and Bill James and calculated the average projection.
If you factor in the necessary position adjustment Byrd would be right behind Jackson. Jackson is projected to be the best in the Oliver and Bill James projections and about middle of the pack in wOBA for CAIRO. But again, the position adjustment would still push him to the top. So yeah, Brett Jackson is the best outfielder on the Cubs roster.
Considering the team has little to no chance of contending next season I see no reason for him to begin the year in Chicago. He strikes out a ton and could use a few more at-bats in the minors. It’s important the Cubs gain that extra year of club control too. Then again, it’s hard justifying sending him to the minors. How do you tell your best outfielder he has to go ride the bus?