Braves catcher Alex Jackson bats during the Future Stars exhibition game Tuesday, March 27, 2018, at SunTrust Park. Curtis Compton/
Photo: Compton
Photo: Compton

Alex Jackson impressing in Triple-A

Braves catching prospect Alex Jackson had a brief taste of the majors earlier this season. He’s making a strong case to return to the bigs in Triple-A.

Jackson hit 10 homers in his past 16 games entering Sunday. He hit .345 with three doubles, 23 RBIs and 14 runs scored in that span. He’s also had a trio of multi-homer games in that time.

The former first-round pick appeared in three games for the Braves in April, going 0-for-10 with a walk in 11 plate appearances. He hasn’t had another opportunity at the highest level thanks to Brian McCann’s and Tyler Flowers’ health.

But Jackson, once a promising slugger who became a fringe prospect a season ago, is making encouraging strides. The Braves believe his defense has notably improved, and that comfort has translated to a freer offensive game.

Still just 23, Jackson still has room for growth. He’s hit .239 with 22 homers and 52 RBIs for a Gwinnett Stripers team that’s setting offensive records. He projects as a low-average, high-power hitter whose ceiling will be determined in how he manages a game.

Braves manager Brian Snitker spoke well of Jackson prior to Sunday’s game, saying reports have been encouraging and he’s made the defensive strides the organization hoped to see. The Braves intend to promote Jackson when rosters expand in September, unless circumstances necessitate his return sooner.

For Jackson personally, he’s yet to carve out a role with the franchise. The Braves have highly touted backstop William Contreras in High-A and spent a top-10 pick on collegiate catcher Shea Langeliers in last month’s draft. 

Playing well only helps his cause, obviously, to earn a late-season playtime time, warrant consideration to be in the mix next season (Flowers and McCann could be free agents) and/or make himself a more valuable trade chip.

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