I would like to thank my cousin Joe McBrayer for taking the time to write this piece for Padres360.com. He’s a lifelong Cardinals fan and loves baseball with a passion.
St. Louis (MO) Last week the Houston Astros traded away former St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Ryan Jackson that was claimed by the Astros from the Cardinals back in November. Jackson a shortstop, third baseman and second baseman became a chip for the Astros to grab Jesus Guzman from the Padres in order to get a right handed bat. The Cardinal Nation fan base is very familiar with Ryan Jackson. Jackson seemed to be stuck with the AAA team Memphis Redbirds due to Pete Kozma earning the start at shortstop. Jackson by no means was never to be considered heir to the coveted shortstop position. Jackson is also known as a highly touted rookie but just couldn’t push his way to the top. One thing about Jackson that stays with him is the fact he plays with grit but his defensive skills have diminished but his hitting skills are either up or down. He did spend time with the Cardinals in 2012 and 2013 with very limited at bats. It took the Cardinals ten years to find a steady shortstop like Jhonny Perralta. Personally I had always thought of Jackson as a backup player and never a starter.
Here are some scouting reports on Ryan Jackson from various scouts:
15) Ryan Jackson, SS, Grade C+: Scouts have always been impressed with his glove, but he is starting to show something with the bat now, showing more pop. A larger-scale breakthrough is plausible. –John Sickels
The glove-first shortstop showed some signs of life at the plate in his first season at the upper levels.
The Good: While Jackson is not a fast player, he’s very quick; he has outstanding instincts and reactions at shortstop to go with soft hands, a plus arm, and outstanding actions. He’s an instinctual hitter who waits for his pitch, has a decent feel for contact, and gap power.
The Bad: Jackson’s numbers always look better due to his ability to hit left-handers hard; his platoon splits are a bit troubling. He can’t afford to lose a step because he’ll have little big-league value if he can’t play on the left side of the field.
Ephemera: Jackson hit at least .323 in three different months of the 2011 season, but he hit just .208 in May and August combined.
When Jackson was taken out of Miami back in 2009, he had a reputation as a slick-fielding shortstop that had some shortcomings with the bat. He still has those impressive defensive skills, but he’s been more productive offensively than some anticipated. He showed some extra-base pop in Double-A in 2011 and has a solid approach at the plate. In the Arizona Fall League, he played all over the infield in the event he’s needed to play a utility role, but there’s still a chance for him to become an everyday shortstop at the big league level.-Johnathon Mayo
Joe McBrayer-Member of United Cardinals Bloggers