Chicago Cubs minor league outfielder Brett Jackson, considered the organization’s top prospect, will forego playing in the Arizona Fall League to join Team USA in the 2011 Pan American Games, sources have confirmed to ESPNChicago.com.
Cubs’ official, the sources said, felt that the opportunity to play for Team USA would be a more valuable experience for Jackson than playing in the AFL. Jackson played for both Team USA and in the AFL last year. His fall league season was cut short due to a bacterial infection in his right leg.
Jackson posted a .274 batting average, a .379 on-base percentage and a .485 slugging percentage with 19 home runs and 23 doubles at two levels in the Cubs’ system in 2011. There was speculation Jackson, whom Baseball America rates as the organization's top prospect, would be among the Cubs' September call-ups, but it was recently confirmed that he would not join the major league team this season.
Third baseman Josh Vitters will replace Jackson on the AFL roster. Vitters is hitting .283 with 14 home runs in 129 games at Double-A. Vitters will be joined by pitchers Andrew Cashner, Trey McNutt, and Chris Carpenter, and infielders D.J. LeMahieu and Junior Lake on the Mesa Solar Sox this fall.
The baseball portion of the Pan Am Games is scheduled to run from Oct. 19-25 in Lagos de Moreno, Mexico.