PEORIA, Ariz. -- As part of MLBPipeline.com's visit to all 30 Spring Training facilities this month, we will be sitting down with prospects and getting to know them a little better. At Mariners camp, it was No. 1 prospect Alex Jackson. Jackson was the Mariners' first-round pick in the 2014
PEORIA, Ariz. -- As part of MLBPipeline.com's visit to all 30 Spring Training facilities this month, we will be sitting down with prospects and getting to know them a little better. At Mariners camp, it was No. 1 prospect Alex Jackson.
Jackson was the Mariners' first-round pick in the 2014 Draft, taken No. 6 overall out of Rancho Bernardo High School in San Diego. His first full season was a disappointment, though he did finish with a solid final month in the short-season Northwest League.
MLBPipeline.com: How do you compare last year, your first Spring Training, to this year? What are the differences in terms of how you're looking at things?
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Jackson: I'd start off with the fact that it's a different front office. There's a lot of different guys who have come in. It's almost as if it's my first Spring Training all over again. I would say, coming in, I was more prepared. I knew that Spring Training was the time when you put in your work and you get ready for the season. I definitely feel like I was able to prepare myself better this offseason, knowing what I was going to be expecting in Spring Training. I think things have definitely have gotten off to a great start.
MLBPipeline.com: Last year didn't go the way you probably would've liked. At what point did you turn the page from that?
Jackson: Yes, unfortunately it didn't go as well as I would've hoped, but at the same time, I definitely look at it as a learning experience in trying to find myself. In the game of baseball, you're not always going to be up. There are ups and downs. It definitely helped me, not only as a baseball player, but also as a person in general, to get to know myself better, to learn how to get out of slumps. It showed you're not always going to be on the top of the hill. This game is tough and you have to grind it out. I think there are a lot of positives to take from it.
MLBPipeline.com: That last month in Everett, you swung the bat well. Was it good to finish off on a higher note? Was it a good foundation to leave things with?
Jackson: It definitely was, just being able to clear my mind, essentially, and just go out and play the game we all love to play, not necessarily worrying about numbers, not worrying about any of that stuff, instead just going out there and competing, having a good time. It definitely helped for me in just being able to get back to being myself, getting more comfortable at the plate, seeing balls a little bit better, just overall getting my game back to where I would like it to head to.
MLBPipeline.com: Going from Southern California to having to go to the Midwest League, how tough was that, how much was it a shock?
Jackson: It definitely was very shocking to me, definitely interesting. Then again, you can't use that as an excuse, you can't blame it on the weather. You're going to play in weather like that your whole career. It definitely was very different from what I'm used to. Then again, now I'm able to look back at the experiences that I've already gone through and better prepare myself for the future. You're out there, your whole team is out there, the other team is out there, everyone Is in the same predicament, so you can't look at it as, "poor me" because everyone is going through it
MLBPipeline.com: Do you miss catching at all?
Jackson: That's a tough one. I don't know if I have an answer for that. I just want to play baseball. Catching, it wasn't a huge part of my life. It's what I did throughout high school. Whether it's catching, outfield, any position, I just want to play. I'm not too worried about whether I miss it. My focus is trying to win, trying to help my team win and trying to help our organization.
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow @JonathanMayo on Twitter.