Ian Stewart has long labored under the weight of hype.
A first round pick (10th overall) back in 2003, Stewart quickly became the Rockies’ top prospect, and then a top 50 prospect in all of baseball – status he held for several years as he developed in the minors. But, while he had some success from 2008 to 2010 in Colorado, lingering wrist issues and other health problems derailed his progressing career in 2011 and 2012. The hype faded.
The wrist issue, in particular, was a serious problem that, thanks to surgery in 2012, Stewart now believes has finally been addressed.
At the Cubs Convention this weekend, Stewart, whom the Cubs brought back on a non-guaranteed one-year, $2 million (plus $500K in incentives) deal, told Carrie Muskat that his wrist was finally 100 percent.
That’s a huge step, Stewart indicated, because it’s been a while since he was healthy.
“The last time I was truly healthy was 2010, and even then I missed the last month with an oblique injury,” he told Muskat. “I did well that year, and the last few years has been a lingering wrist issue and I really believe I got it taken care of.”
The last time Stewart was productive was 2010, also, so here’s hoping that the issue the last two years really has been one of health and not ability. When asked about third base this weekend, Dale Sveum indicated that he’s viewing Stewart as the presumed starting third baseman right now. So Stewart will get every opportunity to convince the Cubs.
The hype isn’t likely to return, but maybe he can at least become a league average third baseman (when considering defense, at which Stewart has always been solid).
Anything above that is gravy.