A few orders of business in this unscheduled special edition minor league report, the potential call ups of Brett Jackson on Thursday or later this month, as well as that of Josh Vitters, and the mishandling of Welington Castillo in the major leagues.
Brett Jackson – Jackson was rumored to have been called up on Monday after the Reed Johnson trade to Atlanta that also included Paul Maholm, as he was pulled from the Iowa Cubs game. Ultimately, he was right back in the Iowa lineup the following morning. Reports broke on Monday that Sveum was considering a Brett Jackson call-up (reported by Paul Sullivan), before Muskat added on that the brass would discuss the roster Thursday, with the potential of the call-up then or in the near future. This would be the wrong move to make at this point. Jackson has struggled this season in Iowa, with just a .253 batting average and already 152 strikeouts. Of course, Jackson has still been a solid producer with a .814 OPS, but his inability to make consistent contact will be exploited against major league pitching and out of the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. Jackson still has issues to work out, so there is little sense in throwing him right into the ring to fix those problems at the major league level. It would be better to let him finish the season in Iowa, with a call-up in September, since Iowa won’t be making the playoffs either.
Josh Vitters – Vitters has been the minor leagues for a long time, entering the Cubs organization in 2007. At age 22 and playing at the AAA level, he is having his best season since 2008 in the short-season A Northwest League and the A-level Midwest League. His OBP is .053 higher than his batting average, and he is posting a good-if-not-great .846 OPS (again, hitter-friendly league, but still young for the level). While staying in AAA until the Iowa season ends wouldn’t be a bad thing, unlike Jackson, it is actually a good time to call up Vitters. Vitters could slide right in as Luis Valbuena isn’t exactly blocking anybody in the organization.
Welington Castillo – Castillo has already been called up, unlike the other two, but he is being handled poorly at the major league level. While an inferior piece to Jackson and Vitters, Castillo is far superior to the likes of Steve Clevenger organizationally, yet has to split time with him as the Cubs starting catcher in the post-Soto era. Hopefully this is only temporary, but regardless of how he didn’t even make the Top 13 Prospects List here, he still has to be handled like one in this scenario.
The Verdict – Brett Jackson SHOULD NOT be called up, Josh Vitters SHOULD, and Welington Castillo should play EVERY DAY.