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Cubs in no hurry to call up top prospects Anthony Rizzo and Brett Jackson

Apr 20, 2012, 10:47 AM EDT

Brett Jackson AP

First baseman Anthony Rizzo and outfielder Brett Jackson are off to strong starts at Triple-A, but team president Theo Epstein said yesterday that the Cubs have no immediate plans to call them up to the big leagues.

Epstein explained to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun Times that “it’s a little bit early to be thinking about those kind of moves, specifically with your better prospects” and “those guys are continuing their development at Triple-A and things that they’re working on they need to continue to improve.”

Epstein is right, of course, because there’s no good reason to dramatically change the team’s plans 13 games into the season. And while Rizzo is hitting .393 at Triple-A it’s worth noting that he had similarly gaudy numbers there last season before struggling mightily in the majors and the guy he’d be replacing, Bryan LaHair, is hitting .357 with a 1.113 OPS. So first base production isn’t exactly the Cubs’ problem.

Jackson is a different story in that not everyone in the Cubs’ outfield is thriving, but he’s also hitting just .254 with 20 strikeouts in 14 games at Triple-A. So while his overall production is strong with an .871 OPS, it’s not hard to see where Jackson has to make improvements before a call-up is a must.

  1. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Apr 20, 2012 at 11:03 AM

    I’m glad they’re not being rushed. It’ll keep them improving on their skills and general gameplay, while staying hungry for the big leagues.

    Jackson’s likely for 2013 if he has a good year, but I’d be curious to see what happens with Rizzo if LaHair thrives from here on out.

    • tmohr - Apr 20, 2012 at 11:08 AM

      I imagine the Cubs would try to flip LaHair at the deadline. There’s always some pigeon willing to trade a prospect.

      • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Apr 20, 2012 at 11:14 AM

        Nah – if they’re in no rush to call up Rizzo, forcing him to take an everyday job in 3 months doesn’t make sense.

        Maybe if they’re both still crushing it after a year.

    • deadeyedesign23 - Apr 20, 2012 at 11:20 AM

      If Jackson isn’t coming up this year I wouldn’t be surprised if they moved Dejesus to CF, LaHair to RF and either traded or waived Byrd.

    • Alex K - Apr 20, 2012 at 11:35 AM

      I think Jackson will be up this year. If they can find someone to take Byrd or Soriano then he is up. Even if they can’t get rid of one of those two I wouldn’t be surprised if he comes up to just replace Byrd.

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