By David Schuster-
MESA, Ariz. (CBS) -- Brett Jackson is the future for the Cubs.
The question is, when is that future? Is it near or is it far? If you listen to the former No. 1 draft pick, it's coming quick.
"The goal is always to be in the big leagues and compete at that level," Jackson said. "Obviously that's where I want to be and that's what I'm working towards everyday and I think I'll be here real soon."
The likelihood is that Jackson will get a little more seasoning in the minors this year. Last season he split time between Double-A and Triple-A and hit .278 with 20 home runs but he also struck out 138 times in just 431 at bats. That's nowhere near good enough and he knows he still has a lot of improvement in store.
"I want to take advantage of the tools I have but I need to refine those tools too," Jackson said. "All offseason I worked on both my strength and speed. I also worked on my hitting and throwing and my defense, which is very important to me."
And speaking of defense, it sure looks like Jackson is being groomed to be the Cubs' center fielder if, or when, Marlon Byrd moves on.
"I would love to play center field at the big league level," Jackson said. "I think I'm fast enough and throw well enough and I love running down fly balls and being in control out there in the outfield."
Jackson stands 6'2" and weighs 220 pounds. He combines power and speed and has matinee looks that will make him a fan favorite, especially if he performs like expected. He dearly wants to get to Wrigley Field and show his talents.
"I'd love to be a Cub forever," he said. "I love the city of Chicago and I love the atmosphere in this organization with all the changes. It's an atmosphere that I want to be part of for a long time."
And very shortly he will be.
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