06/09/2009 11:55 PM ET
Cubs select outfielder Brett Jackson in first round of the 2009 Major League Baseball Draft
Club selects infielder DJ LeMahieu with the 79th overall pick, left-handed pitcher Austin Kirk with the 109th pick
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs tonight selected outfielder Brett Jackson out of the University of California Berkeley with the 31st overall pick in the 2009 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. The Cubs also selected infielder DJ LeMahieu out of Louisiana State University in the second round (79th overall) and left-handed pitcher Austin Kirk out of Owasso High School in Oklahoma in the third round (109th overall).
Brett Jackson was recommended by area scout John Bartsch, DJ LeMahieu was recommended by area scout Steve Riha and Austin Kirk was recommended by area scout Brandon Mozley.
Jackson, 20, was ranked by Baseball America as the second-best overall athlete among all available college players in the 2009 draft class. The six-foot-two, 210-pounder was named to the 2009 All-Pac 10 team after a stellar junior season during which he batted .321 (70-for-218) with 42 runs scored, 17 doubles, six triples, eight home runs, 41 RBI and a .407 on-base percentage in 53 games for the Bears.
"We're really thrilled we could draft a player like Brett Jackson. He plays the game hard and he has a chance to be a true centerfielder," said Tim Wilken, director of amateur and professional scouting for the Cubs. "Brett was one of the guys we had earmarked and we were hoping we would have the chance to draft him. Down the road he has a chance to be an everyday player who could hit for some power and hit for average."
Jackson, who bats left-handed and throws right-handed, was named a 2009 first-team preseason All-American by Baseball America and was on the Golden Spikes Award Watch List.
"The Chicago Cubs are a tremendous organization and I'm honored," said Jackson. "Truly, I was hoping to be a Cub and I couldn't believe it when my name was read. It was a dream come true. I'm proud to be a Cub and I look forward to helping the organization in the future."
In 2009, Jackson began the campaign with a career-high 18-game hitting streak, batting .408 with eight doubles, a triple, four home runs and 14 RBI during the tear. He turned in a career-best effort May 12 vs. Sacramento State when he went 4-for-6 with a grand slam, three-run triple and RBI single to tally a career-high eight RBI. Overall last season, his 17 doubles tied for sixth in the Pac-10, his six triples ranked second, his 123 total bases ranked seventh and his 70 hits ranked eighth.
In three seasons at the University of California Berkeley, Jackson batted .303 (146-for-481) with 91 runs scored, 25 doubles, 11 triples, 12 home runs and 85 RBI in 152 games. He is a 2006 graduate of Miramonte High School in Orinda, California.
DJ LeMahieu is a draft-eligible sophomore for Louisiana State University. Thus far in 2009, LeMahieu is batting .340 (84-for-247) with 48 runs scored, 12 doubles, three triples, four home runs and a .408 on-base percentage in 66 games as the club's starting shortstop. LSU has advanced to the College World Series. The 20-year-old LeMahieu is six-foot-four, 193 pounds, bats and throws right-handed and graduated from Brother Rice High School in Michigan.
Austin Kirk, 19, went 9-1 with a 0.45 ERA in 11 games in 2009 to help lead Owasso High School to its 11th state championship and 12th championship game appearance in the last 13 years. He struck out 111 batters in 61.2 innings pitched. Kirk is a six-foot-one, 200-pounder who throws and bats left-handed.
The 2009 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft continues tomorrow with rounds four-through-30 and concludes Thursday with rounds 31-through-50.