Atlanta's No. 16 prospect notches two doubles, launches homer
By William Boor
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Alex Jackson's breakout season is continuing in the Arizona Fall League.
After setting a career-high with 19 homers in 96 games this season, Jackson showed some of his power with a two-run homer in the Peoria Javelinas' 6-4 win over the Surprise Saguaros on Wednesday afternoon.
"[I was] just going up to the plate, looking for a good pitch and hoping to put a good swing on it," the Braves' No. 16 prospect said. "When you stick with that plan good things happen. I was able to see the ball well today and I put a good swing on it."
Good things certainly did happen for Jackson as he went 4-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs scored. The 21-year-old, who is hitting .381 in the AFL, wasted no time getting started on his big day as he led off the second inning with a solo homer.
"Went up to the plate, just looking to get a pitch I could handle and was able to get a pitch that I was able to get through," Jackson said of his second AFL homer. "I was able to put a good swing on it."
In addition to the increase in his power numbers, Jackson, who spent time with Class A Advanced Florida and Double-A Mississippi this season, set a career high with 65 RBIs and posted his best slash line (.267/.328/.480) since playing 23 games in the Rookie-level Arizona League after the Mariners selected him 14th overall in 2014.
The Mariners traded Jackson to Atlanta in late November and the fresh start may have been just what he needed, although he admits the change of scenery wasn't the only thing that went into his resurgence.
"It's not just one particular thing," Jackson said. "I was able to just be myself, have fun, find some things and fine tune some things. It's nice being able to get the results -- keep playing hard, having fun, getting pitches to hit and putting the bat on the ball."
In addition to switching organization, Jackson also changed position in 2017. After beginning his career in the outfield, the Braves moved Jackson back to catcher -- the position he played in high school.
Jackson is happy to be back behind the plate and showed off his strong arm as he caught a runner stealing in the first.
"I enjoy being back behind the plate, it's fun," Jackson said. "It's definitely fun to be back there and work with this staff in the Fall League and the staff we have with the Braves. It's unbelievable and it really helped me grow as a player."
Throwing out a runner and hitting a homer would have constituted a pretty good day, but Jackson was just getting started.
The 21-year-old added a base hit in the sixth, a broken-bat double in the seventh and finished his day with an RBI double and a run scored in the ninth.
A trio of Padres prospect also had a big impact on the win as Luis Urias (Padres No. 3 prospect, MLB No. 48) tripled and scored in the first, drove in a run with a two-out single in the fourth. Josh Naylor (Padres' No. 10) went 2-for-5 with a run scored and Javier Guerra went 3-for-5 with a run scored.
William Boor is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.