Mariners Top 20 Prospects: #4 SS Drew Jackson

Drew Jackson playing shortstop for Everett on August 11th. (Photo Credit: Brian Helberg)
Drew Jackson playing shortstop for Everett on August 11th. (Photo Credit: Brian Helberg) /

Drew Jackson looks to prove 2015 success was no fluke

Drew Jackson was drafted by the Mariners in the fifth round of the 2015 draft (155th overall) as a shortstop out of Stanford. He signed for $335,400 and was immediately assigned to Class A short-season with the Everett Aquasox.

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Drew Jackson, the younger brother of Chicago Cubs former first-round pick Brett Jackson, attended Miramonte High School in California and hit over .400 in each of the three years he lettered there. In his senior year, he hit .439 with 3 home runs, 13 doubles, and 25 stolen bases. After his senior year in 2012, he was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 37th round, but decided not to sign and opted to play for Stanford.

Regarded as more of a speed and defense type of shortstop, Jackson really struggled offensively in his first two seasons with Stanford. He hit .207 for the Cardinals with 17 hits in 24 starts in his freshman year, and .167 with 18 hits in 35 starts in his sophomore year.

Despite the drop in his offensive output from his freshmen to sophomore year, his defense improved. Jackson made all 35 of his starts at shortstop, and even made an appearance at number nine in the Sportscenter top ten plays on February 23, 2014.

His junior year with the Cardinals was his breakout season offensively. He led the team with a .320 average in 40 games. He had 47 hits and drove in 17, hitting safely in 20 of his final 23 games, while actually ending the season on a career long 10-game hitting streak. Jackson garnered an All-Pac-12 honorable mention that year with career highs in almost every offensive category.

After getting drafted and assigned to the Everett Aquasox, Jackson tore up the Northwest League in his first professional season, winning the league MVP. He led the league in batting average (.358), on base percentage (.432), stolen bases (47), and runs scored (64) in his 59 games played.

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 The 22-year-old righty collected 81 hits and drew 30 walks to his 35 strikeouts in 226 at-bats in 2015. Jackson won’t be known for his power, but he will put the ball in play and get on base. He has an impressive contact rate, but isn’t afraid to take pitches and draw a walk here and there, which should put him in the position to utilize his speed on the basepaths.

Although having another solid year at the plate, he profiles as a defense first shortstop. Jackson has solid range at the shortstop position and a cannon for an arm. The 6-foot-2 Berkeley, California native projects to be an above average defender, and if his offense can continue to develop at the rate it has, at least an average hitter as well.

Look for Drew Jackson to spend the majority of the 2016 season in Class A Full-Season with the Clinton LumberKings. I expect for him to continue to play sparkling defense, and I will be very interested to see if his offense progresses or if 2015 was a fluke. If it was just a fluke season, he will most likely project as a utility infielder in the majors. But if he can prove that he has the ability to sustain his productivity at the plate, the speedy Jackson could turn out to be a diamond in the rough for the Mariners.