Jacobs had a NY-Penn League-high 12 HR in '07
Last season, Jason Jacobs played an intricate role on the Brooklyn Cyclones’ roster as he provided power from the heart of the order and managed the team’s rookie-laden pitching staff. Now heading into his third season, Jacobs is determined to make his mark after two seasons spent in Brooklyn with the desire to repeat last year’s success at a higher level.
Jason Jacobs, a two-time NY-Penn League All-Star, was in many ways the backbone of the Cyclones’ success during 2007. As a catcher hitting in the middle of the order, the demand on the 24-year-old backstop was certainly high. With the army of pitchers selected in last June’s draft on the Cyclones roster, coupled with his own goal to improve at the plate, Jacobs had the chance to prove his maturation on both sides of the ball.
“I got a lot in last season and I got a lot of positives from last year. My power numbers, my RBI, were the best of my career and I got chance to learn to develop with a pitching staff,” said Jacobs.
At the plate, Jacobs transformed from a rather light hitter in 2006 [.217, 2 HR, 14 RBI, 45 games] into a slugging, middle-of-the-order run producer who compiled a league-leading 12 home runs to go with his 46 RBI in 66 games. His renewed his approach so that he would take more pitches and develop a better understanding of the strike zone.
However, though he feels his skill will translate at a higher level, he does question as to whether or not he could match the production. Therefore, it is not power numbers that he seeks, but rather the traits of a more consistent hitter.
“That could be the most power I show in my career, I really don’t know. In a full-season, I may hit about 20 home runs or I may not surpass the numbers I put up. Last year, I didn’t really focus on power, it just showed up for me,” he explained. “It would be great to duplicate that, but I’d like to cut down on my strikeouts while shooting for the .300 mark.”
Perhaps the bigger question facing Jacobs this season is his future in the field. Though exclusively a catcher during his rookie season, he was moved out from behind the plate numerous times in 2007 to man first base. The move did keep him fresher throughout the summer, but the Mets plan to have him at first base looks to be more than an opportunity to prevent wear and tear.
So far during camp, Jacobs has spent most of his time as a catcher in large part to the abundance of arms and the need for catchers, but that is not to say his long-term plan remains there. He admits a preference to stay a catcher, but will not object to a position move if it means more playing time and the chance prove greater value to his team.
“It would be real nice to go out and keep being that guy who bonds with the pitchers and helps them and our team win,” said Jacobs. “But, to be truthfully honest, I don’t know where they will have me play. It may depend on where the need is at the time, but for me, I’ll be happy wherever I play as long as I get the at-bats. That’s the name of the game for me.”
”I’ll play anywhere they ask me to so I can get in the lineup and improve at the plate. It also leaves me more options for my career, being able to play and experience different positions and let managers know they can stick me in a couple areas and not worry about my defense,” he continued.
Yet, in the end for Jacobs, it is all about demonstrating that he can continue the progression he showed last season—that includes avoiding a sluggish start to the season.
”I felt like I came into Spring Training ready to go and I want to have that feeling going into the year,” he said. “My biggest goal coming out of camp is to be prepared. I want to knock the rust off, get ready for the season and hopefully start right up where I left off last year.”