Update: 12:34 PM: Brett Jackson is starting in CF and batting 2nd
UPDATE: 12:24 PM: Tony Campana has been optioned to AAA
UPDATE: 12:20 PM: The Cubs have traded Jeff Baker to the Detroit Tigers for two players to be named later.
This is weird because I was in the middle of writing an article on Josh Vitters and Brett Jackson today....
Per Brian Bedo and our friends at miCubs.com, it seems that the Cubs will be calling up both Vitters and Jackson today.
My thoughts on this are that I'm excited to see it happen. Jackson and Vitters have both had a lot of development time in the minors, but they both very likely aren't finished. We'll probably see both struggle to some degree.
Brett Jackson's contact issues and Josh Vitters' aggressive approach at the plate have been well-documented and I have every expectation that those respective weaknesses will be exploited by savvy MLB pitchers.
But there are advantages to bringing them up now. The first of which is that the Cubs will get an early and more extended look at two possible starters for 2013. The two players will get their feet wet and get some experience. They'll also have the opportunity to work with the MLB coaching staff. This is particularly important for Jackson, who had been working with now Cubs hitting coach James Rowson on some adjustments at the plate. The Cubs likely feel he is best served working with Rowson on a daily basis as they try to cut the strikeouts down to a manageable level. We can't expect Jackson to ever be a contact hitter or a guy who hits for average, but the expectation is that he can mitigate the contact issues to point where it will allow him to put his solid across the board skill set to use as an everyday player.
Jackson has an excellent approach at the plate and unlike many current Cubs, he'll make the opposing pitcher work and throw strikes.
As for Vitters, he's been working on his approach and we noted in out top 20 prospects article that he has increased the number of walks he's had in each month this season, resulting in a career high of 30, 8 more than his previous high with one month to go in the season.
Vitters, however, excels where Jackson struggles. He uses a picturesque swing and tremendous hand-eye coordination to make consistent hard contact. This year we have seen him hit the ball harder and more often then we've seen in the past, resulting in his best numbers since he was still a highly touted, top national prospect down in Class A Peoria.
The concern about cost control is not as significant as it was with Anthony Rizzo because, at this point, neither Vitters nor Jackson project as future stars, just solid regulars. The Cubs could have waited until mid-season of 2013 if they wanted to save an extra year, but concerns about their continued development also played a factor in the unexpected call-up.
They will arrive in LA today and hopefully we'll see them in the starting lineup. Looking forward to this game and seeing what these guys can do.
We'll update once we find out corresponding moves and if they'll be in the lineup today.