Jackson flirts with cycle on four-hit day

Braves No. 16 prospect falls triple shy, plates two for Javelinas

Alex Jackson is batting .381/.435/.762 with two homers and seven RBIs in five AFL games. (Jennifer Stewart/MLB Photos)

By MiLB.com Staff | October 19, 2017 1:05 AM

Catchers may hit for the cycle less than other position players, but Alex Jackson got as close as he could to achieving the feat Wednesday in the Arizona Fall League.

The No. 16 Braves prospect collected four hits and drove in two runs as the Peoria Javelinas beat the Surprise Saguaros, 6-4. Needing a triple to get into the AFL history book in the ninth inning, Jackson ripped an RBI double to left field for his second two-bagger of the game. His fourth knock of the afternoon also matched his overall total from his first four games of the fall.

Gameday box score

Jackson opened the scoring with a solo homer to left-center in the second and was retired for the only time of the afternoon on a strikeout in the fourth. The 21-year-old singled to center in the sixth and doubled to left in the seventh to set the stage for the final frame. He collected a four-hit game with Class A Advanced Florida on July 9.

"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 told MLB.com about his second AFL homer. "I was able to put a good swing on it."

Obtained from Seattle via trade last November, Jackson posted career highs in virtually every offensive category in 2017. The backstop batted .267/.328/.480 with 19 homers and 65 RBIs despite spending a month on the disabled list. Jackson appeared in 96 games with the Fire Frogs and Double-A Mississippi, earning Midseason All-Star honors in the Florida State League.

"It's not just one particular thing," Jackson told MLB.com of his resurgence. "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."

Drafted in the first round by the Mariners in 2014 as a catcher, Jackson was moved to the outfield and did not appear behind the plate during his first three years as a professional. The Braves converted him to his original position and the California native responded with the best season of his career. He caught a runner stealing in the first Wednesday.

"I enjoy being back behind the plate, it's fun," he told MLB.com. "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."

Padres No. 3 prospect Luis Urias tripled, singled and drove in a run for Peoria, which collected 15 hits, including seven for extra bases. Rangers 15th-ranked prospect Josh Morgan hit a solo homer and walked twice for Surprise.

In other AFL action:

Rafters 6, Solar Sox 5

Mesa scored the game's first and last runs with a two-run double by A's No. 14 prospect Sheldon Neuse in the first and a three-run homer by Jason Vosler (Cubs) in the eighth. But in between, it was all Salt River. Braxton Lee (Marlins) singled in a run in the third and Brewers No. 10 prospect Lucas Erceg slugged a solo shot in the fourth. Three innings later, Peter Mooney roped an RBI double and Rodrigo Vigil singled in his fellow Miami prospect. Orioles No. 3 prospect Ryan Mountcastle provided insurance with a two-run single in the eighth. Keegan Akin, Baltimore's No. 8 prospect, worked around a hit with two strikeouts over three scoreless innings of relief for the win. Gameday box score

Scorpions 9, Desert Dogs 5

Seventh-ranked San Francisco prospect Steven Duggar led the way for Scottsdale with four singles, three runs and an RBI. Matt Thaiss and Troy Montgomery, the No. 3 and 20 Angels prospects respectively, both tripled and drove in a pair of runs for the Scorpions. The home team amassed 18 hits and went 8-for-16 with runners in scoring position. Dodgers No. 8 prospect Will Smith singled three times, plated a run and scored once and 17th-ranked Los Angeles prospect DJ Peters added two RBIs in the loss. Gameday box score

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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