|No. 2 — Alex Jackson, RF
|Acquired: First Round, 2014 Draft — Rancho Bernardo HS (Calif.)
Jackson’s power and ability to hit for average — his two best tools coming out of high school — have not been showing up in games due to some mechanical issues stemming from a crusty front side, creating fewer line drives to center and right-center field, also something of which Jackson has the capability of in high school. This can be fixed, and will have to be or his entire profile changes from everyday player who can hit to slugger fighting for a career.
Jackson possesses plus bat speed and enough strike zone judgment and discipline to jump to the conclusion that his strikeout rate in 2015 — 30.2 percent combined between Class-A Clinton and Short-season Everett — can be attributed to three rectifiable symptoms: 1. Injury 2. The stifling mechanical issue between the wrist and elbow that reduce the fluidity of his hip rotation and reduces bat speed 3. Mental roadblocks.
He’s a solid-average right fielder led by a plus arm and above-average instincts leading to proper routes and jumps. He took a full step back athletically from draft year; gained some weight, showing more of a thick, sluggish build.
There was some thoughts that Jackson was overwhelmed by the tasks necessary to compete in pro ball, On the aggressive side, that suggests a questioning of work ethic and desire to max out natural skills, which is a considerable red flag for a 20-year-old two years removed from the draft.
Jackson should be set to start 2016 in Bakersfield, but injury, lack of performance and the aforementioned concerns have prevented him from producing in the Midwest League, even.
There are many reasons why prospects fail, with the No. 1 and 2 factors being exactly that: effort and mental fortitude. If the player isn’t going to work very hard on his game and stay in top condition, the chances the physical tools will develop into playable skills at the big-league level plummets like a Kevin Brown sinker.
If Jackson flips the switch, he’s the best bet for a present Mariners prospect to develop into an average or better everyday player. Until we see that aspect show up in terms of results, however, he’ll remain ranked behind other(s) that ooze such an approach to training and show the acumen to take instructions to the field with success.
Jackson’s timetable has been set back a bit, but there’s still a chance he pushes through by September 2018 or sometime the following season.