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Over the weekend, we learned that the Chicago Cubs have two of the top 10 first base prospects in baseball (according to MLB.com), Anthony Rizzo at the top and Dan Vogelbach at the bottom. That came a week after Javier Baez was listed as one of the top 10 shortstop prospects in baseball … and a few days before Brett Jackson made the top 10 outfield prospect list.

The just-announced outfield list has Jackson behind only Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, Bubba Starling, and Wil Meyers in all of baseball. And, given that outfielders come in triplicate, Jackson’s achievement is all the more impressive.

On Jackson, considered by most to be the Cubs’ top prospect heading into the 2012 season, MLB.com says:

It’s hard to imagine a 20-20 player being undervalued, but because none of Jackson’s individual tools grade out as plus, he might fit that bill. Jackson hit better after he was promoted to Triple-A in 2011 – always a good sign. His strikeout rate concerns some, but he also draws walks and his power-speed combination should play just fine at the highest level. Jackson can play all three outfield spots, something that should allow him to reach Chicago at some point in 2012.

Jackson, 23, will start the year at AAA Iowa with an eye toward coming up to Chicago perhaps in the second half of 2012 when an outfield spot magically comes open.

In the interim, the Cubs will undoubtedly be looking at Jackson’s K rate. Strikeouts are not, in and of themselves, a certain mark of doom for a prospect – in fact, in Jackson’s case, they indicate a relatively disciplined approach at the plate that yields a lot of pitches and a lot of walks. But it tends to be the case that minor leaguers who strike out as often as Jackson does – 320 times in 1341 plate appearances, or 23.9% of the time (and increasing as he moves up the ladder) – have trouble adjusting in the bigs.

Still, Jackson’s combination of speed, athleticism, discipline, power and defense make him a good bet to have a long Major League career. And that’s the cat’s pajamas.

  • Mr. Pants

    Could the move to get rid of Scutaro by the Red Sox be a precursor to Javier Baez being sent there as Epstein compensation? (Mea culpa if this has already been addressed in previous comments posts on the site)

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Nah for a couple reasons – (1) Baez is far, far more valuable than what the Red Sox are going to get, and (2) Baez is far, far away from the bigs, and no team is going to dump a player to open up a spot for him any time in the next few years.

      • Quintz

        I noticed that the same guy had Matt Szczur at number 9 last year and he didn’t crack the top 10 this year. Have scouts devalued him or has the competition for those spots just gotten stronger?

        • Kyle

          He didn’t have as strong a year as some hoped. The buzz on Szczur has gotten a bit softer lately, though he still has tons of upside.

        • http://CubbiesCrib.com Luke

          I still have Szczur #3 in the Cubs farm system, behind Jackson and Rizzo. He didn’t have a great 2011, but it was also the first time he was able to focus purely on baseball. Right now, I’d say his ETA is late 2013. At worst, I think he’ll be a better version of Tony Campana.

    • fearbobafett

      He was also just drafted wouldn’t he need to be a player to be named later? I doubt the commish will want this lingering all season long

    • Cedlandrum

      He wouldn’t be able to be traded until August anyway. He was just drafted last year.

  • MichiganGoat

    This just in: Larry Lou is now demanding an additional player for compensation because Jackson isn’t a top 3 outfielder. He demands at least three top ten prospects or he will not settle and stomp his feet above the green monster until everyone is willing to give him what he wants.

  • Fishin Phil

    That story was the bee’s knees!

  • JulioZuleta

    Always good to see. With Jackson and Szczur already in the fold, I think the Cubs need to look for some corner-outfield power bats in the draft. I want them to go pitcher with two of those four high picks, but then I’d like to see a power bat or two over the first three or four rounds. The big time power guys in the system last year were LaHair, Bour, Jones, Hoilman and Ridling to a lesser extent, all first basemen. Now with Rizzo and Vogelbach, seven out of our ten or so best power bats are at first. I know first is a power position, but still… There is not a lot of system power at third, catcher or in the corner outfield. Hopefully Golden progresses, but right now we have more athletic, speedy center field types in Jackson (he’s balanced, but I don’t expect huge power) , Szczur, Ha, Easterling, DeVoss and Dunston than we have projectable corner outfielders.

    • http://CubbiesCrib.com Luke

      Ridling has played some left, as has Vitters. But that’s about as good as the Cubs outfield power prospects get. And that really isn’t too good. Baez and Candelario have projectable power, but again, not outfield. Don’t forget about Clevenger at catcehr, though. He shows every sign of having a nice SLG in the majors.

      Signing Cespedes and Soler would help correct that deficiency in a hurry. A couple power bats in the draft would be nice, but I’m a “best player on the board” guy, every time. If that means the system winds up with six more high ceiling middle infielders, so be it. But in the event of a tie, bring on the left handed fireballers and slugging outfielders.

      • JulioZuleta

        I agree, I don’t want them reaching for power bat early on, but i think if two similarly ranked guys are on the board in the third round or so, it’d be a good idea to grab a corner outfielder. And you’re right, Soler and Cespedes would be huge, but I have a hard time penciling guys in who aren’t in the organization, although I do think there’s a great chance we get at least one.

        Also, I haven’t forgotten about Clevenger. In fact, I’ve been wondering why no one has been mentioning him as being at least in competition for the job come Spring.

        • http://CubbiesCrib.com Luke

          I think he’s got a better shot to break camp as Soto’s back up than Castillo does, simply because he hits left handed. The only reason he spent most of the season in Double A was so he could catch every day. As he clearly showed when he was promoted to Iowa, he can handle Triple A pitching. Castillo vs Clevenger should be one of the better battles of the spring. That battle could easily end with Soto being traded in July.

    • Konk

      look for a surprise corner OF to make a splash in 2012 from the system

      • JulioZuleta

        Are you just throwing that out there, or is there a guy you have in mind? I think Golden could do big things. He walked at a better clip than I expected last year, and started getting hot late. Not to mention he’s only 20 and won’t turn 21 until October.

        • http://CubbiesCrib.com Luke

          A strong showing by Golden wouldn’t be a surprise so much as it would be a validation of taking him in the second round. He is the most likely outfield power bat to break out in 2012.

          I suppose I should put Abner Abreu and Michael Burgess on the table as well. Abreu didn’t do much after the trade, but Burgess did show some signs of being less swing-happy in the latter part of the season. A breakout by Burgess wouldn’t shock me, but I’m hardly holding my breath.

          • JulioZuleta

            Yeah, I think Burgess has pretty much hit non-prospect status to me. Abreu’s got an outside shot, but he needs to walk more and strike out less (funny how that seems to be a pattern).

    • ferrets_bueller

      I can almost guarantee, especially with a FO this smart, that the Cubs are going to draft whatever they view as the best value, regardless of positional needs within the organization.  Its ridiculous to draft by needs, as they are constantly changing, and prospects have so much value as trade chips.  It would be foolish to draft an SP if there is more value available in another position, and vice versa.

      You have to take the best player available.

      • JulioZuleta

        Again, I never want the Cubs to reach for a lesser player, but we are at a point where we have about 8 good 2B type prospects, and 1 good corner outfield prospect (even though there are two corner positions). But, let’s not confuse the MLB draft with the NFL, NBA, or NHL drafts. In those sports, there’s a pretty clear hierarchy of prospects going in to the draft. In the MLB draft after the first few rounds, players aren’t clearly “ranked”. Teams don’t have a board ranking in order the top 1700 prospects. After the first, second round guys, players are grouped. What I’m saying, is that if the 89th best player is a 2B, but the 91st best player is a power LF, the Cubs are at the point as an organization where they should take the LF. You can’t just completely ignore your needs. You need to have some positional balance or you end up hurting guys’ trade value by playing them out of position, or having 4 second basemen at AAA, making it obvious to other organizations that you need to dump one or two of them.

        • http://CubbiesCrib.com Luke

          Exactly. Take the best player when there is clearly a best player available, but prioritize systemic weaknesses when it gets murky.

          And I do mean systemic weaknesses. I don’t care if my major league outfield is Hank Aaron, Mickie Mantle, and Willie Mays – if the best outfielder in my farm system is Moonlight Graham, I’m going to look really hard at outfielders in the draft. Great farm systems tend to be balanced farm systems, and a little prioritizing in the draft room can result in a lot of balance.

          Right now, the Cubs need slugging outfielders and left handed power arms on the farm more than anything else. When they can get one of those without reaching or without by-passing a clearly superior player, they should do it.

  • RCB

    Does MLB.com do an overall ranking of systems? I’d be curious to see their ranking of the Cubs system. Most prospect guys seem to have us in the middle, few superstar players but solid depth. But we seem to have quite a few guys in our system that MLB.com like.

    Also, no way Javier Baez is sent to Boston for compensation.

  • miggy80

    Good job Ace way to knock the cats pajama’s out of the park!

  • JulioZuleta
  • gblan014

    From what’s being said about Jackson, it looks like his big league comp would be someone like Grady Sizemore. Power, defense, speed with a small concern about a high strikeout rate.

    • Kyle

      Sort of. Right style of player, but Sizemore was much better as a prospect and is way better in the majors than Jackson projects to be.

      Sort of like Vogelbach reminds people of Prince Fielder, but not as good.

      • ferrets_bueller

        Jackson reminds me a little of Sizemore, but nowhere near as good.  Vogelbach reminds me of Fielder, and just as good, or better, potentially. (granted, we have a much better read on Jackson than DV at this point, though)

         

        • gblan014

          Good to know. I know it’s an imperfect exercise, but I always like to try to figure out how a prospect compares to a present day MLB player rather than try to picture what “plus” speed or “good” power are.

    • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

      I think every offensive tool is 1 step below Sizemore though. (Hitting/speed/power)

      • ferrets_bueller

        I think their hit tools are similar, but the other four (speed, power, glove, arm) are all one step below Sizemore. Sizemore was Good/great/great/great/great, jackson is good/good/good/good/good.

        • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

          I don’t see it.
          Sizemore struck out 337 times in minors in 2344 plate app’s.
          Jackson struck out 320 times in minors in 1341 plate app’s.

          I think BJ struggles to hit .250.

          • http://CubbiesCrib.com Luke

            It’s entirely possible that Jackson does struggle to hit .250. But that .250 BA is likely to come with an OBP north of .360. I don’t see him making many All-Star games, but I do see him being a solid, every day outfielder who can hit in the top half of the order for a decade or so.

            • Kyle

              If Jackson hits .249, then his OBP is going to be a lot closer to .335 than .360. Still good enough for a decent defensive CFer with some pop, of course.

            • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

              Likely a .360 OBP? If he’s hitting .250 I’d say that’s more ‘best case’ than ‘likely’.
              But I agree with you on your main point, he’ll still be a valuable player despite the low BA.

        • DocWimsey

          But, again, you left out batting eye, which is just as important a tool as the others. Indeed, it is much less apt to improve or decline than is power or fielding.

          Here, Sizemore was really good as a minor-leaguer: he had an isoD of 0.09. Jackson has been even better: an isoD of 0.10.

          (Of course, Sizemore was younger: but, again, in most cases batting eye does not change that much as players age.)

  • Leo Deleon

    Isn’t Boston blowing this way up. Selig is going to have to be smart on this one or else everyone is gonna start wanting a top notch player for there office personnel. If we give them a box of staples is that worth a single A player.

  • ferrets_bueller

    I still would take Trout over any OF prospect in baseball, including Harper.  But thats just me.  I love Wil Myers as well.

    LMAO, have you guys looked at the poll results on that page?  Harper is number one as expected, but….number two is Jackson, with 15%, vs. Trout’s 13%.  Now, I’m all for voting for the Cub’s guy, but…come on, haha.

    • Quintz

      Well, that shows that Cub fans are extremely loyal, unfortunately, not too bright. If there is any scout in the world who would take Jackson over Trout, I’d l’d take their BAC immediately.

    • DocWimsey

      Trout vs. Harper is sort of like Lennon vs. McCartney: it’s a matter of taste rather than there being a “right” answer.

      Jackson is definitely George here: I mean, I love ‘em both and they both are great, but….

      • ferrets_bueller

        …but at least he’s not ringo.

        George is actually my favorite Beatle.  Its all too much=favorite beatles song.

        • Katie

          My favorite Beatle as well. “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is my favorite song written by George.

          • DocWimsey

            Have you heard the demo version on Anthology? George originally ended the tune on an absolutely killer set of lines: it’s a pity that he cut it from the final version.

            And like I said: I’ve got no problems with a George!

            • Katie

              Yes Doc, I’ve heard that and wondered why they got cut. Paul and John probably made him.

          • Spriggs

            Isn’t It A Pity; Cheer Down; This Is Love. Awesome, underrated George songs.

  • Leo Deleon

    I understand so shouldn’t the compensation be $$ and not players. How do u put a value on something like this. What does a 3rd base coach or pitching coach get u where do u draw the line.

    • Quintz

      That has been my thought the whole time on this compensation mess. Put a dollar figure on it. If for no other the reason than saving time.

  • FiveFifty550

    Nice way of working in “cat’s pajamas”.

  • die hard

    reminds me of Corey Patterson hype…how did that turn out?…would be better if let kid stay in minors entire year until Sept call ups

    • Rancelot

      dh, you have become so predictable with your responses. All you do is take the devil’s advocate approach with every story. In fact, I am convinced you don’t even believe what you write. Game over!

      • die hard

        Well, at my age, I cant rely on memory alone…so thank heavens for wikipedia which is below and confirms my memory that many similarities exist and moreover I do recall he was touted as the next Willie Mays, 5 tool player….and was rushed to majors as savior…and he fell flat on his face…also he has struck out about 1000 times out of 4500 AB

        WIKIPEDIA:
        Patterson was selected by the Chicago Cubs as the third overall pick in the 1998 Major League Baseball Draft. He made his professional debut in 1999 with the Lansing Lugnuts of the Class-A Midwest League, and was selected as that league’s “Prospect of the Year” after leading the league in slugging percentage (.592), extra base hits (72) and triples (17). He also batted .320 with 20 homers and 79 RBI, and was named to the league’s all-star team both at mid-season and postseason. Baseball America named Patterson the league’s top prospect.[citation needed] After the 1999 season, he played in the Arizona Fall League and was that league’s youngest player. He batted .368 with 4 home runs, 24 RBI, and 8 stolen bases in 35 games, and was named to the league’s all-star team.
        In 2000, Patterson was promoted to the Double-A West Tenn Diamond Jaxx of the Southern League. He was named to the league’s mid-season and postseason all-star team, and was named the league’s top prospect by Baseball America.[citation needed] Patterson batted .268 with 22 home runs and 82 RBI, finishing second in the league in home runs.
        After playing in the 2000 Southern League playoffs, Patterson was called up from the minors to play for the Cubs. He made his major league debut on September 18, 2000, against the Milwaukee Brewers. The next day Patterson recorded his first major league hit, a home run off Juan Acevedo. He finished the 2000 season with seven hits in 42 at bats, and two home runs.
        Patterson did not start playing a full season until 2002 when he finished with a .253 batting average. In 2003, he started to become the All-Star the Cubs were looking for, batting .298 with 55 RBI in only 83 games before injuring his knee while running to first on a base hit against the St. Louis Cardinals.
        Patterson played 157 games in 2004, with a .266 batting average, 24 home runs, and 72 RBI in 631 at bats. His On base plus slugging of .771, while low, is his best of the six seasons in which he played more than 83 games.[citation needed] He had the lowest range factor (2.18) among all starting major league center fielders in 2004.[citation needed]
        In the 2005 season Patterson did not do well statistically. On July 7, he was sent down to the Triple-A Iowa Cubs. The demotion came after the Cubs had lost a season-high eight games in a row. Published reports indicated that center fielder Felix Pie, the Cubs’ top prospect, was slated to be called up from Double-A West Tenn in July when Patterson was sent down.[citation needed]
        Patterson was back up with the major league team on August 9, after his one-month stint in Triple-A Iowa.

    • ferrets_bueller

      That comparison is only valid if you’ve never actually seen him, or looked farther right in his stat line than “SO.” Because to the right of that is “BB,” which shows why he’s a vastly better prospect than Patterson- he actually has plate discipline and a concept of the strike zone.

      • DocWimsey

        And that is why so many Cubs prospects (Patterson being only one of them) failed to really pan out: most of them had no batting eye. If they do make it to MLB, then pitchers exploit the heck out of that.

        Jackson, on the other hand, has a good batting eye. Brett is right to warn that guys with lots of K’s in miLB often have problems in MLB: but I’ll bet that if you separate the “high pitch count” guys (with lots of K’s and lots of BBs) from the “swing at everything” guys (lots of K’s with few BB’s), then you’ll find a big difference in MLB success.

        • Kyle

          You can keep betting that, but you’d still be doing so with no real evidence.

          • ferrets_bueller

            You could compile evidence, though.  Set up parameters for what constitutes a high K guy, then divide them up based on a set difference between BA and OBP, and see if they side above the chosen OBP-BA experienced more success.  I’d bet they do.

          • DocWimsey

            It is a testable hypothesis, and ferrets_bueller (love the name!) sets out the best way to do it.

            But, yes, it is just a hypothesis at this point.

            • ferrets_bueller

              Thankya, sir!

      • Kyle

        Patterson had a better hit tool, similar power, and better defense to go with that lack of a batting eye, though.

        In 2003 and 2004, the Cubs got 5.1 WAR out of Patterson for a total of $845,000.

        Patterson may not have had the long-term career the Cubs and his prospect rankings hoped, but he wasn’t a total bust by any means. He gave the Cubs some serious value.

        • DocWimsey

          Hey, if someone was throwing baseballs at me and I had to choose a guy to play Jedi and swat them away, then I’d pick a guy like Patterson, Colvin or Shawon Dunston. (Actually, give me Ichiro!) Their ability to get wood on ridiculously bad pitches was impressive. A guy like Jackson or a Mark Grace might not help me if he’s going to take a pitch outside of his comfort zone and let it whack me.

          However, baseball is not about doing that!

          • Kyle

            Baseball is about producing runs for your team and outs for your opponents.

            While drawing a lot of walks is a highly efficient way of producing runs, and a way that was wildly underrated for decades, you seem to have gone so far in the other way that you’ve begun to severely overrate them to the degree that you think no player can be useful unless they take a lot of walks. That is simply untrue.

            • DocWimsey

              If I come across that way, then let me back off a step. However, Cubs prospects have done poorly recent years: in several of the last few years, the Cubs have had the fewest farmhands of any MLB team on the All-Star ballot. Cubs position players simply do not prosper in MLB, either for the Cubs or for other teams.

              One of the most common deficiencies of those players has been the inability to recognize pitches. This is NOT to say that it is the ONLY deficiency. However, the best way to start improving things is to fix the most common (remaining) problems. It is, I think, the stone that would kill the most birds. Kill those, and then let’s figure out the next stone for the remaining birds.

              • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                Worth noting that the Cubs’ farm teams last year were at or near the bottom of their respective leagues in walks taken.

                • DocWimsey

                  The Cubs were 2nd to last in net walks (BB taken – BB allowed) last year, too. Only the Astros were worse (-159 vs. -155). The eight playoff teams ranked 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 8th and 13th on this list. (Detroit was 13th). The Mets (no power!) and Marlins (power negated by pitching) made 6th and 7th without reaching post-season.

                  Again, this is half pitching, but it’s half hitting, too.

              • Kyle

                We’ve been over this a few times, and while I respect your opinion, I just think you are confounding a few factors.

                Cubs hitters in recent memory have been lacking *both* major offensive tools: Pitch selection and the so-called “hit” tool. It seems as if you have sort of set these up in opposition to each other, and that’s not really true. Batters can be good at both, poor at both, or good at one or the other.

                The Cubs loved to draft players with big power, speed, athleticism and the potential for plus defense, but lacking either tool.

                An elite hitter has both tools in spades. Think Alex Rodriguez or Barry Bonds in his prime.

                Corey Patterson had a below average hit tool with a miserable batting eye.

                Felix Pie had a decent hit tool with a bad batting eye.

                Tyler Colvin had a terrible hit tool with a merely bad batting eye.

                Josh Vitters has a plus hit tool with a poor batting eye.

                Ian Stewart has a terrible hit tool with a plus batting eye.

                Brett Jackson has a bad hit tool with a plus-plus batting eye.

                The Cubs’ problems with prospects have just as much been a lack of a hit tool as they have a lack of a batting eye.

                • DocWimsey

                  OK, I see your point, and I think that the problem is that “hitting for average” confounds two things, especially prior to MLB. One is getting your bat on the ball. Say what you will about Patterson, but he was amazingly good at getting his bat on the ball when you consider the pitches at which he swung. (He got a lot of hits on pitches outside the strike zone.)

                  That worked in the minors, but it got exploited at the majors.

                  Alternatively, Hee Seop Choi (due to wrist problems) lost the ability to get his bat on the ball on pitches in the strike zone. He still had a great batting eye, but he couldn’t hit strikes.

                  So, break down “hit for average” as one tool to “ability to get bat on the ball” and “batting eye” as two tools, and maybe we are on the same page? With exceedingly rare exceptions like Ichiro, BA is a product of these two tools. If we separate those, then I’ll bet that we get a better predictor of BA & OBP at the MLB level. (The Sox obviously think so, and Theo had a lot to do with that!)

                  • Kyle

                    Guys like Patterson have to swing at a ton of pitches because they swing and miss so often that three hacks is their best chance to get something out of the at-bat.

                    He could make contact on some bad pitches, but I wouldn’t call it a good hit tool because he swang and miss so often.

                    I’d define hit tool as “ability to make contact when swinging” and batting eye as “ability to discern which pitches should and should not be swung at.”

                    To me, hit tool loosely correlates with MLB floor and plate discipline correlates with MLB ceiling.

                    A guy with a bad hit tool is going to have trouble making adjustments as he faces increasingly difficult pitchers, and has a high chance of flaming out.

                    A great hit tool is the ultimate failsafe. Those guys can usually go out there and hit .280 with a .320 OBP at any level, and at most postiions that makes you a useful MLB player, but never a great one. That’s why a guy like Darwin Barney can be pretty much the same hitter in A ball as he is in the majors, without much attrition to his stats.

                    • DocWimsey

                      Well, Patterson was pretty deadly on things in/near the strike zone. He just stopped seeing those after 2003.

                      But it seems that we are narrowing towards the same idea that “batting average” should be replaced with two other “tools.”

                • TWC

                  Kyle, are you softening on Ian Stewart?  You didn’t say “terrible terrible terrible hit tool”.

                  • CubFan Paul

                    Hilarious.

                  • Kyle

                    Oh man, you are right!

                    My mistake. Please revise the previous post to “Ian Stewart has a terrible, terrible, awful, bad, horrible, terriawful, horribad, awfbad, horriful and terriful hit tool. Also he eats babies.”

                    • http://CubbiesCrib.com Luke

                      You watch. Ian Stewart is going to get hot this year and finish the season with a batting average of .235. You’ll be eating those words!

                    • ferrets_bueller

                      I wouldn’t be surprised to see him hit .250.

                    • BetterNews

                      Stewart is a long shot, no doubt.

                • Matt

                  Kyle, so if we are talking the prime of an ARod or Bonds, we are including their use of performance enhancing drugs. That is why their “eye” is as good as it is. As someone who takes Testim, I can tell you there is a distinct advantage of someone who uses any kind of hormonal drug. You become more attentive when you are peaking. Let’s use golf as an example. I am a golfer. I typically take my medicine before I play. It takes anywhere from an hour and a half to two hours to peak. From the time I leave my house until I peak, I know how long that is. The difference is, I hit my irons higher and longer, and I add up to 50 yards to my drive, because the contact is more solid. You become more attentive. Anyone who says there isn’t an advantage is just lying. Some may have better skills than others, but Clemens, Sosa, Bonds, and ARod would all tell you they were in their prime when they were juicing if they were being honest.

                  • Kyle

                    That’s an entirely different discussion that I have absolutely no intention of getting into :)

                    Regardless of why they are able to do it, legit or illegit, the best hitters combine an ability to make contact with an ability to select pitches.

            • DocWimsey

              Oh, and I would point out that the 3rd biggest correlate of outscoring opponents is out-walking them. Out-homering them is 2nd and out-doubling them are 1 & 2. (Or out-homering and then out [doubling+tripling] if you want to consider triples to be “special” doubles.)

              Half of out-walking the opposition is drawing walks. The other half is a pitching staff that doesn’t issue walks, but that’s a separate issue.

    • Deer

      might be better to wait in order to boost fan interest after June. The first few months of the season likely to be painful, a late callup will provide a reason to tune in.

    • Andrew

      The difference is that patterson didnt walk so its not like he was working a lot of counts, he just swung at anything. I also liked patterson a lot until he tore his acl or something going to first and lost a lot of his speed, but maybe thats just nostalgia. Hopefully BJ can live up to the potential CP never could.

  • Curt

    couldn’t resist could ya Brett. It is slick though the cats pajamas lol

  • Wilbur

    Good series of exchanges, gave some stuff to think about.

  • Kyle

    We are definitely getting closer and more of an understanding! That’s what happens when too people argue hard but nicely for their points. Great stuff!

    Patterson in 2003 and 2004, his good years, was only making contact on about 72% of his swings (82% in the zone and about 44% out of the zone).

    Compare that to a guy like Starlin Castro, who also suffers from “can’t take a walk” itis.

    Castro makes contact on 93% of pitches in the zone that he swings at, and 71% of those outside the zone.

  • Elwood

    Man, didn’t waste any time implementing cat’s pajamas!!!

    • NEcubsfan

      Kitten Mittens are the cat’s pajamas BTW.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        YES! Kitten mittens!

  • Andrew

    One thing that seems to be a little overlooked is the effect power has on walks. No matter how good of an eye Barney develops, hes never gonna walk a lot because no pitcher is afraid to challenge him. If Brett Jackson becomes the 20-20 guy we think he can be, he should be able to draw some walks because pitchers may not throw him fastballs on obvious hitters counts. I think a player’s ability to hit for power is a better ceiling, than pitch selection since it can’t be developed as much as a good eye can be.

    • DocWimsey

      There have been guys with low power but great ability to take walks. Brett Butler, Kenny Lofton, Omar Vizquel in his prime batting years, just to name some. Bob Dernier’s two big years with the Cubs featured a lot of walks.

      I think that people might put the cart before the horse on this. Traditionally, people assumed that power hitters walked because pitchers were afraid of them. However, the view that people like Epstein take is that selective hitters maximize their power by swinging only at pitches they can drive. There certainly have been a few oxes who didn’t take walks because they were not disciplined.

  • OHBearCub

    Barney should put more balls in playbeause he wont walk much unless he was batting lead off. Pitchers always look at bottom of the order hitters a few different ways. Good fastball pitchers just try to make short work of them so they can keep pitch counts down. BAck of the rotation guys are different the bottom of the order guys have longer at bats because the pitchers are not as good and are not as efficient with pitch counts in the lower half of a lot line ups. I think when you watch player like Barney he is going to do well with bottom of the rotation pitchers. Castillo proved he can hit any pitcher wants too. He isnt going to walk a lot when he knows he can hit. Barney needs to focus on situational hitting mostly hitting behind his guys on base. His value will go up when he improves.

    • TWC

      Is Barney still on the team?

  • Jason “Thundermug

    Ok Theo talks keep dragging I would offer this as a suggestion.

    1st : Give Red Sox the Compensation Pick that was going to the Cubs for losing Aramis Ramirez which is a high pick in the draft

    2nd. Bud tells Theo and company to pick 15 players who aren’t in your 40 man Roster or in year’s draft list
    (Cubs give Bud that list of top 15 and then Bud gives that List to the Red Sox and then the Red Sox can choose anyone that isn’t on that list)

    Red sox : Get that Draft Pick the Cubs would get for losing Ramirez and another minor league prospect who isn’t in the 40 man Roster, 15 Cubs List by Theo and not drafted in last year’s minor league draft Thoughts anyone

    • npnovak

      1st suggestion wouldn’t work. You can’t trade draft picks in MLB. I don’t think it’ll come to the 2nd suggestion either

    • Matt

      Sorry, but even if you could trade draft picks, the compensation round pick wouldn’t be the one they would get. They would get like a 5th round pick. Nothing too great, but a solid player.

  • Jason “Thundermug

    Well it’s so silly it’s taken over 3 months and nothing is still done:

    How about Bud just gives the Red Sox a pick in the Compensatory Round (for losing Theo and someone that the Cubs leave out from a list of 10, 15 , or 20 depending on what Bud says

    • Matt

      Again, he isn’t worth a pick in the top 50 picks. That would be insane. The reason it has dragged out is because the owner of the Red Sox is being vindictive. If we would have given something up when it first happened we would have overpayed on emotion alone. From our perspective, that is why Theo has taken his time. There is a reason nothing is done yet. It will soon be over with though.

    • http://casualcubsfan.blogger.com hansman1982

      Both sides know that there is a no-name prospect going to the Red Sox and Lucchino is just putting up a stink so that when Bud does what he should do, Larry can whine to the fans

      • BetterNews

        Hansman–Nobody has ever answered my question, maybe you can. What if Theo just gets fed up and says Sawx get nothing, ZERO. What are the ramifications? Can the Cubs be fined? Thrown in jail? I’m serious, what would happen?

        • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

          really a good question… can anyone shed some light to the possibility of telling the sox to SUCK IT!

        • Kansas Cubs Fan

          Ricketts agreed to give them compensation.

          So no, they can’t tell them to suck it.

          • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

            so could ricketts tell them to suck it? im just being a smart ass… but you know its one of those pressing issues that is surely hindering alot of whats going on elsewhere in the club. and an issue that has a real muddy window when comes to anyone trying to make a guess at whats gonna happen. ive heard alot of what seem to be good suggestions but to be honest i havent got a clue to what the club is really be held to in this matter

            • Kansas Cubs Fan

              I was about to stick my internet foot in your internet ass. Haha

              But I actually forgot about until it was brought up a couple of days ago.

              I don’t think the Cubs will be giving up too much. Well I hope not anyways.

              • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

                well i hope your right … just so hard to say for sure right now

          • BetterNews

            Kansas–So what if Theo says he is not giving anything? It was not put in writing apparently!

          • MichiganGoat

            Emperor Bud can just force the issue he can order player X to report to the Red Sox, he has complete control over this and can force the teams to do whatever he wills, but I think Bud is trying to avoid having to use his supreme powers and will do whatever he can to encourage a team negotiated resolution. In no way can the Cubs just say “Suck it” and not give anything.

  • Cubsin

    There’s a reason it’s dragged on this long, and his name is Larry Lucchino. Ben Cherington and Theo could have worked something out months ago, but Lucchino’s ego has kept him from approving any settlement that doesn’t include Garza, Castro and Jackson. I think Cherington will leave Boston as soon as his current contract expires.

  • 2much2say

    There is no way the Cubs would sign Fielder to only 1 year. 7 yr with opt out after 3 is the least

    • Sully777

      2Much: Why not? That would be the ideal scenario; a one year deal does not give the perception that you are ultimately looking to block Rizzo’s progress; yet makes the Cubs immediately more relevant and interesting during a transitional year. This would also give Fielder a landing place to put up huge numbers-then look to go back into the market next year. I believe the issue would more likely be Boras’s ego-have to say I love the fact that teams haven’t bought into his B.S. thus far.

      • 2much2say

        Fielder is an all or nothing choice. Once you can sign him make it long term. If he had a great year you would want him back. On a 1 year you lose him to the higher bidder

  • JK

    Is anyone else shocked that we are entering the season with Ian Stewart, Chris Volstad, Travis Wood, and David DeJesus being the big moves of the off season? I guess when I saw them let Pena, Ramirez, Fukodome, Silva and Zambrano contracts go that they would infuse this team with a fresh investment. It seems like the sunk cost theory is not being adopted but instead the Cubs are playing a we will hope to catch lightening in a bottle/rebound with younger inexpensive players. We will not reinvest or bring player salaries n-sync with previous years. Just not what I expected from this off season. I hope Theo has a plan.

    • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

      of all the players mentioned im relly not sold on ian stewart. my only hope is for that to translate to some at bats for vitters at 3rd. the outfield will be where all our production comes from. i think lahair and castro will hit and be productive respectivly. as far as the patch work rotation… all i know is we will get some innings out of these guys. maybe im just that cub fan that always blindly believes… its a possibility.

    • Dane

      Throwing money at the problem is not the solution when you need so many pieces. The Cubs FO is doing this the right way: build a farm system of sustainable talent to replenish the Major League roster and only use Free Agency as a way to add a missing piece or two. The reason we are having this problem is because Hendry would try to fix the team by spending large amounts of money on free agents. (i.e Soriano) Your focus should be long-term success, not a quick fix.

  • Cheryl

    Brett, Is there any further word on Heyden Simpson? Will he be in Spring Training? Has he regained his health? This will probably be the make it or break it year for him, depending on his health and if he shows any of the ability that made him a higher draft for the cubs than was expected. Or has he been written off completely

  • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

    heres to hoping hes not… i was so high on this kid when we signed him. i hope he has at minimum a comeback year, or lives up to some of that hype… he is young too remember. i think make or break may not be the best way to put it.

    • Cheryl

      I was high on him too. But even though make or break it may not be the best way to put it I think he has to show something this year and I do hope he’s fully recovered.

  • 2much2say

    The Cubs have all their eggs in Cespedes, Soler and a trade or 2.
    We need a 2nd Base/man and a 3rd Baseman. Philips!!! in 2013 and Longoria via trade

  • http://bleachernation ferris

    cubs will have alot of money as soon as next yr to spend….this may sound crazy but id still trade sori for burnett wich frees up more money and trade garza for those prospects from detroit(oliver,smyly,castellena)sp…oops-. we may also have to keep byrd til july now that boston has signed ross,so this afore mentoned trade makes more sense even if you wanna bring jackson or another to the bigs at the beggining of 2012.stewart and lehair will produce close to the same power as what theyve replaced,stewart is better def. than ramerez,lehair isnt as good def. as pena…..but w dejesus byrd jackson campan johnson sappelt……..our o.f. def. would be very good.

  • BetterNews

    A friend says Brett Jackson might be there opening day!

  • Eric

    wow, even ad agencies are outsourcing their spam to communist china for their cheap spam labor. Can’t even fuckin spam in sensible english.

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