The Importance of Mike Olt’s Spring, and a Tentatively Good Start

mike olt iowaIn 2012, Mike Olt hit .288/.398/.579 at AA, in only his second full professional season, and was called up to help the playoff-bound Rangers. He ended the season a consensus top 25 prospect in all of baseball.

In 2013, Mike Olt hit .201/.303/.381 at three AA/AAA stops, and, midseason, he was dealt to the Cubs as but one part of a four-player package for two months of Matt Garza. He ended the 2013 season off of not only all top 100 lists, but off of the Cubs’ top ten prospect lists.

How does that happen? Well, we’ve all heard the explanation by now: Olt was concussed over the Winter between those two seasons, that lead to eye and tear duct issues, and his vision was a problem for most of the 2013 season. Without proper vision, a hitter cannot hit. Thanks to a great piece by Sahadev Sharma, we got even more information on Olt’s situation – allergies exacerbated his situation, particularly in Iowa, and it took some time to sort out the best course of corrective action.

So, which Mike Olt do the Cubs have now?

If his 2013 struggles were entirely due to eye issues, and if those eye issues are now entirely under control, there’s a chance the Cubs may have maneuvered their way into getting 2012 Mike Olt. Rarely does Spring Training offer the possibility of telling you so much about a particular player, because rarely is the animating question about a player as simple as: can he see the ball again?

Games don’t start for another week, but players are in camp taking live batting practice. How did Olt’s first session go? His very first session against an actual, live pitcher this year?

“For my first at-bats in a long time, it’s the best I’ve ever felt in Spring Training,” Olt told Carrie Muskat. “I’m not even counting last year, but the year before that. I saw the ball really well.”

Players tend to feel extremely well every year in Spring Training, but this is the best first reaction we could hope for from Olt, who took those swings against one of the pitching prospects the Cubs got in that Garza trade, Neil Ramirez. You can see a little more from Olt in that Muskat piece, and it’s all as positive as it gets. We’re still a long, long way from having any kind of serious confidence that Olt is back to his 2012 self, and, even if he is, we’re still a long way from seeing whether he can translate that top-prospect self into a productive big leaguer.

But this is a very good start. Cautious – extremely cautious! – optimism is warranted at this point, particularly when you consider that Olt’s been saying his issues are behind him all offseason. As I’ve said before, the trickling effect of Olt emerging as a legitimate starting third base option at the big league level is profound …

It gives the Cubs a productive bat and glove at third base (a cost-controlled one, at that) – it allows the Cubs not to have to use two roster spots on one position – it allows the Cubs more flexibility with what they want to do with Luis Valbuena, Donnie Murphy, Emilio Bonifacio, and Darwin Barney – it allows Christian Villanueva to get all the starts at third base at AAA, if that’s what the Cubs want – it creates significant organizational redundancy at a position other teams are dying to acquire more talent – it reduces the pressure on Javier Baez and Kris Bryant to succeed quickly – it gives the Cubs more flexibility long-term with how they want to sort out when/where various prospects will emerge on the big league roster.

The Olt story this Spring is hugely important, and could be hugely positive for the organization. I think we need to be realistic in acknowledging that the odds he actually winds up breaking camp as the starting third baseman, and proceeds to put up 2 to 2.5 WAR in the first half of the season (meaning long-term decisions could definitely be made at that time) are pretty slim.

But the impact, man. It could be something. I’ll continue watching him closely.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

146 responses to “The Importance of Mike Olt’s Spring, and a Tentatively Good Start”

  1. bbmoney

    This is just a huge story for the organization. I’m glad the FO seems to have picked up some depth for 2b and 3b for the current year (admittedly of questionable MLB value) so that Olt doesn’t have to make the team and start at 3b.

    Unlikley, but dang, it would be nice if he could be up by May and playing well…..

  2. GoCubsGo

    Man am I rooting for Olt to win the job and stick at third. I think he is the key player to 2015 contention because we will suddenly have a lot of prospects who have a decent chance of not having a position. If he can somehow manage to hit .260 with 20 home runs and GG defense, I would be ecstatic.

    1. Rich H

      You realize that was always the projection for Olt? He was never looked at as an Uber-Prospect just a great glove guy that had some pop and a nice eye. His ceiling is a 260-280/340-360/450-500 type of guy.

      Not saying that his career years wont be better than that but that was always the safe bet with Olt. Kind of a good guy to have but not nearly the player that was hyped as the center of the Garza trade the first time around.

  3. CubChymyst

    I’d be happy with 2-2.5 war for his first full season in the MLB from Olt.

    1. Kyle

      I should darn well hope you’d be happy with that.

  4. Javier Bryant

    Here’s to hoping Olt turns things around! Not just for the organization, but for himself as well. Saw Olt play in Kansas City a couple years ago, shortly after he was called up and saw his 1st career rbi, a sac fly. Hopefully I get to see him again on Opening day at Wrigley

  5. JCubs79

    I really hope he wins the job, but I’m not counting on it. He was just so bad last year and I’m still not convinced even 2012 Mike Olt can hit big league pitching yet.

    1. Blackhawks1963

      Exactly. Its a mistake to neatly chalk up all of his woes to Mr. Magoo eyesight that supposedly has now been corrected.

      1. DocPeterWimsey

        It is an application of Occam’s Razor to attribute the difference between 2013 and 2012 to Olt’s eye issues.

        1. hansman

          It’s even simpler to just say he sucks. It works for 2 things, 1 he’s a Cubs prospect and 2 the front office traded for him so we get double negativity points.

          1. DocPeterWimsey

            Ah, but you’ve just explained why it is *easier* for some people to *believe* it, not why it is *simpler* to *think* it!

            :-)

        2. DarthHater

          To go with Doc’s comment, I was going to post a pic of a razor blade slicing an eyeball, but it’s probably a bit too graphic for Brett’s taste, so I won’t.

          1. hansman

            Can you describe the picture?

            How about with interpretive dance?

            1. DarthHater

              Sure. Here’s my dance:
              9322737514_6eca3ff54b_o.gif

              1. Wilburthefirst

                Love it … First time I’ve seen it.

          2. hcs

            Was it from the Salvador Dalí/Luis Buñuel film Un Chien Andalou? That scene creeps me the hell out.

        3. Kyle

          Given that he had a promotion to a new level and had a statistical profile consistent with players who struggle when promoted (high-K, older), I don’t think we can just default to the eye explanation.

          1. Brocktoon

            Let’s just get Brett Jackson these eyedrops

  6. Cubbie in NC

    If he can hit at all during Spring Training, I really hope the Cubs start him at 3rd at the MLB level at the beginning of the season. Just to let him get comfortable and see what he can do. It makes the other levels of the organization fit together so much better.

  7. DarthHater

    I’m concerned about Ramirez, if a blind batter can see his pitches so well. :-P

    1. GoCubsGo

      Mark Reynolds has already set the precedent for blind MLB players, Olt should be fine.

      http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=19409

      1. mjhurdle

        that is one of the best articles i have ever read.

        Well done GoCubsGo

      2. hansman

        h4DDC75DD

      3. Robbo

        Thank you for sharing that link, that is hilarious. Cannonball Homer. LMAO.

  8. Dumpgobbler

    If his eye sight was as bad as it was, isn’t it more impressive that he could even do ANYTHING at all really? He still hit 15 bombs last year without seeing very well. To me that really impressive. Edwards was the centerpiece, if Olt can become the guy a lot of people thought he could… oh boy. I’m not counting on it, but don’t we deserve one of Olt, Vitters and Jackson to actually pan out?

    1. Fishin Phil

      Sounds like he was reduced to “Swing hard in case you hit it” last year.

      Here is hoping for a complete rebound this year!

  9. Sacko

    OK so if Olt starts
    ‘More flexibility’ meaning pre season trades?

    1. miggy80

      I was wondering the same. Who’s the first traded off the island?

      1. Javier Bryant

        Barney

        1. miggy80

          That’s who I was leaning to. Okay put Olt in the line up then does Barney get the most playing time to increase his value or is him dumped as soon as possible? Seems like there are more combinations RR could play than there are lottery combinations.

  10. Blackhawks1963

    I’m not assuming a thing on Mike Olt until April 1st. He’s going to have to win a roster spot. That means he’s going to have to prove he’s healthy and that he is prepared for a big league trial.

    Everybody looks great the opening week of Spring Training. It’s the times of lollipops and rainbow dreams.

    1. DarthHater

      12126432166_04dd027043_n.jpg

      1. another JP

        That’s awesome Darth. Where you come up with this stuff anyhow?

    2. hansman

      It’s a helluva lot better than him coming out saying “Ya, things still suck. I can’t see the ball for the life of me and I am already contacting insurance agencies for a job when I am forced out here soon”

      Or some variation of that.

      1. Blackhawks1963

        Huh? No ballplayer on this planet…especially I guy trying to break into the big leagues…is going to say ANYTHING pessimistic about himself during Spring Training. Rather he is going to speak in fluid cliche speak about how he needs to seize upon God given opportunity, is in the best shap of his life, yada yada.

        Lets see what Olt looks like come April 1st. I’m rooting for him too, but he has a big uphill climb in front of him. He needs to prove he is ready for the big leagues and can hit major league pitching to a semi-tolerable enough level.

        1. hansman

          I’m not chiseling his name into the lineup but when things aren’t going well, the player’s comments usually tip the cards. Ian Stewart’s first ST here was full of “Well, I’m playing through it” “I’ve adjusted”.

          It’s why I included “Or some variation of that.”

          1. cubsfan08

            Also, he stated he is seeing the ball well. That’s what we all wanted to know. He didn’t say, I am seeing the ball great, hitting .400 against these chumps should be no biggie.”

            If his vision wasn’t figured out – he’s done as a ballplayer. If the vision is back to normal, then we are back to him being a traditional prospect again. No guarantees, still needs to prove himself etc.

            I think most people agree that the possibility still remains that he can see the ball as well as ever…but still hit .200.

  11. Jon

    Donnie Murphy at 3rd and Olt at first against tough lefties?

    1. C. Steadman

      if Rizzo is gonna be a key part guy, he has to learn to hit lefties…he needs those ABs…down the road in the 2017 NLDS when we face Kershaw Game 1 i don’t want to be platooning our star 1B

      1. Blackhawks1963

        Except that Rizzo struggles against left handed pitching. I don’t want to see him become a platoon player either, but honestly he needs to sit against certain lefties. He just does.

        1. C. Steadman

          why sit him in 2014 against lefties? give him the ABs in a lost season, that’s the only way he’ll get better is by seeing the Kershaws in 2014 to prepare him for the rest of his career…he isnt gonna improve by see BP fastballs from a lefty in batting practice…its facing the best in game situations. Play Rizzo no matter what…if he is due for a rest then try to schedule against an upcoming LH but dont sit him just to get marginal offensive improvements in 2014

          1. Edwin

            Does a player really learn to hit against oppo pitching at the major league level though? Rizzo is who he is. He struggles against LHP, and he’ll probably always struggle against LHP.

            1. Elden14

              For everyone claiming that Rizzo is lost against lefties, here is an interesting article about it.

              http://rotobanter.com/2014-player-profile-anthony-rizzo-he-can-hit-lefties/

              1. Edwin

                Interesting take, but he’s relying on SSS too much. Is Rizzo better than what he’s been against LHP? Probably, but he’s probably always going to be a below average hitter against LHP. Either way, playing him more or less probably won’t help him improve much.

                1. DocPeterWimsey

                  Except that when you do the math with the sample sizes, it turns out that Pytleski is correct. Remember, Rizzo has been pretty much the same hitter for K’s, BB’s and HR against RHP and LHP.

            2. DocPeterWimsey

              Actually, Rizzo’s putative struggles against lefties are vastly overblown. Here is how he does on “true” outcomes:

              BB: 11.4% vs. 10.1% of PAs (one player in 1.6 will have that difference or worse by chance alone given Rizzo’s PAs against lefties and righties)

              K: 17.5% vs. 20.4% of PAs (on player in 2.7 will have that or worse by chance alone)

              HR: 4.8% vs .4.8% of batted balls (nobody is that bad at probability that I need to give you the number!)

              Where we begin ti see something is in his splits for 2B+3B: 10.2% vs. 5.5% of batted balls. However, Rizzo still has played so little that one player in 12.6 would have this difference in the same sample sizes.

              1. hansman

                So are we talking like 1 in 100? 1 in 1000?

                1. GoCubsGo

                  so-youre-telling-me-theres-a-chance.jpg

          2. cavemancubbie

            I’m with you Steadman! I’m sick and tired of hearing this crap about platooning, 4th outfielders and bench players. The only way to improve is to play against the best.

          3. Rich H

            You did not understand the comment from Blackhawk there. He said against TOUGH LEFTIES! That is not a platoon that is giving your stud first base man a chance to get better against lefties and get his confidence against them by being put in a situation to succeed. I would love for Olt to play a couple games a month at first just to keep Rizzo fresh.

            There have always been guys that struggle against a power lefty or even a Moyer type lefty. If Rizzo can take a couple games here and there to keep his head on what he wants to do against his obvious weakness.

            1. Rich H

              * ack ** that last sentence should have read ” If Rizzo can take a couple games here and there to his head on what he wants to do against his weakness then he will have a better chance to succeed.”

            2. C. Steadman

              “that’s the only way he’ll get better is by seeing the Kershaws in 2014 to prepare him”

              I understood he meant tough lefties, which is why i said “Kershaws”…Blackhawk said Rizzo should sit because he struggles against lefties…”but honestly he needs to sit against certain lefties. He just does.”… you didnt understand my comment, I agree that if Rizzo needs rest try to schedule it for a lefty, but if he’s fine then play him no matter the pitcher, he’s arguably our best hitter, you dont sit your best hitter just because Kershaw is on the mound…would Braves bench Freeman? what about Reds and Joey Votto?

      2. cubsfan08

        I totally agree with that, except by the 2017 NLDS we will be so stacked that we could start our scrubs and still dominate…

        But in all seriousness, I would like that flexibility Jon mentions above as a good spot to give Rizzo a few random off days. If the Cubs were to sit him a game or 3 a year, might as well be against a lefty me thinks.

  12. Cheese Chad

    Good to know that as of April 1st you will assume any one thing about Mike Olt. I will prefer to wait until he retires to assume anything on how good of a player he will be.

  13. itzscott

    Boy Oh Boy am I pulling for Olt !

    For some insane reason and I have no clue why, I just envision him as the new Ron Santo at 3rd for the Cubs.

    Maybe I’ve seen Heaven Can Wait too many times, but I’m hoping the reincarnated Santo took over Olt’s body and came back to where he always wanted to be and should be.

  14. Joker

    I know it sounds crazy, but I am a firm believer that Olt will come out crushing in Spring Training and win this job. The talent is still there as long as the medical issues are resolved. My gut says .260/.345/.500 with solid defense. Imagine what that does for the big club this year if we could get that along with good years from Castro, Rizzo, and Beef.

    1. dw8

      .260/.345/.500 with solid defense.

      This is 2013 Evan Longoria.

      I’d take 2013 Todd Frazier, or 2013 David Freese

  15. Q-Ball

    If Olt establishes himself at 3B, and Baez and Alcantara also continue to hit, somebody is going to get traded. If Christian Villanueva also hits, that will make two somebodies. And that is assuming Bryant gets moved to RF.

    It would be a good problem to have, one we haven’t in a long time. Theo has said that prospects are currency, so we may have some of that currency to trade for in other areas, like pitching

    1. Blackhawks1963

      If everything gels (which history suggests won’t be the case completely) then a resurgent Starlin Castro can become a wonderful trade chip for a frontline pitcher.

    2. Darth Ivy

      exactly. The Cubs will have to acquire top-rotation arms somehow, and it’s looking like free agency is becoming unlikely (not impossible). Getting their #1 will probably have to happen via a trade. And teams won’t give up a #1 or potential #1 for nothing. Cubs fans often say that the team shouldn’t trade a player because he’s good. Well, trading away a good player is the only way to get a good return.

  16. mr. mac

    This has the potential to be very un-Cub like. Most times the Cubs would trade high on 2012 Olt and end up with 2013 Olt. If he turns this around and rebounds the Garza trade would be even more lopsided than it only appears. The Rangers may never trade with the Cubs again.

  17. MightyBear

    If Olt could win the 3B job, the Cubs infield defense would be outstanding. 4 potential gold glovers and Castro improving at short. I honestly believe the starting pitching improving is a direct result of the infield defense being much improved.

  18. Cornish Heat

    For me, the top 4 position player stories to watch this spring are:

    1. Starlin Castro and whether he can return to pre-2013 form
    2. Mike Olt and whether he can return to pre-2013 form
    3. Javier Baez and whether his offense continues to progress, as well as where/how he plays defensively (with emphasis on the latter)
    4. Junior Lake and whether his offense continues to progress, as well as where/how he plays defensively (with equal emphasis on both)

    The top 5 pitcher stories to watch this spring are:

    1. Jake Arrieta and whether he can become an effective MLB starter
    2. Justin Grimm and whether he can become a fixture in the bullpen and/or a potential future starter
    3. Arodys Vizcaino and whether he can become a fixture in the bullpen and/or a potential future starter
    4. Kyle Hendricks and whether he can become an effective MLB starter

    I feel those 8 players are significant X-factors heading into the 2014 season; their respective predicted performances are much less assured than guys such as Schierholtz, Rizzo, Barney, Samardzija, Wood, Jackson, and Veras. These 8 guys listed above could go a long way in defining the 2014 season, as well as helping shape the plans for 2015.

    1. Darth Ivy

      I really want to see how hendricks does against MLB hitters. It seems like the rub on his is lack of “stuff” will limit his success in the bigs

      1. Darth Ivy

        “…rub on *him*….”

        1. Darth Ivy

          shit, that still doesn’t make sense. Whatever. Just go with it.

          1. hansman

            Not that there is anything wrong with that.

            1. Darth Ivy

              it’s fine if that’s who you are

        2. Cornish Heat

          Agree completely. I hope and anticipate he receives a fair amount of starts this spring even with Samardzija, Wood, Jackson, Arrieta, Hammel, McDonald, Rusin, and Villanueva receiving higher priority. I say starts over appearances, because like you, I want to see him against major league hitters before they’re pulled mid-game.

  19. V23

    If Olt is back to that “top 25″ prospect of 2012, then that in itself makes this season important to watch.

    June Lineup:
    Castro-Sweeney(platoon)-Baez-Rizzo-Olt-(Sheirholtz Platoon)-Lake-Castillo

    that’s a fun lineup to watch develop.

  20. V23

    By the way, for the all the angst that the Cubs overpaid for Garza, that trade with the Rays, looks like almost the perfect organizational asset acquisition. Paid for Garza when contending, used him, and got more for him then they initially gave up.
    Kudos to Jim Hendry.

    1. Jon

      It sucks we had to give up Archer and man it would have been nice if it was McNutt instead. But also remember, he got Archer for a DeRosa rental, and DeRosa pretty much fell off the map as a useful player after that trade. That was a heist within itself.

      1. Cornish Heat

        DeRosa=Archer=Garza=Edwards/Olt/Grimm/Ramirez

        1. Jason P

          It’s funny — people complain (or at least used to complain) about the Derosa trade all the time, but if we hadn’t done it, we’d probably have won 85 instead of 83 games in 2009 and be without 3 of our top 15 prospects and Grimm.

        2. Noah_I

          To say that it was just Archer for Garza is quite the understatement, though. Even if you subtract the relative bit pieces in Guyer/Chirinos/Fuld, the Cubs also gave up Hak Ju Lee, who is still a Top 100 prospect on most lists despite the knee injury last season.

          1. Jon

            “To say that it was just Archer for Garza is quite the understatement, though. ”

            Not really.

          2. Isaac

            You also can’t leave out Rosscup coming back.

      2. TWC

        Sterling.jpg

        ~~danger zone~~

        1. Edwin

          Well of course, that.

      3. cubsfan08

        Great point – I always forget that about Archer

    2. Cornish Heat

      We’ll see how Edwards, Olt, Grimm, and Ramirez pan out, but I generally agree. As of now (and with the POWER OF HINDSIGHT), I certainly prefer this group to Archer, Lee, Guyer, Chirinos, and Fuld.

    3. Q-Ball

      Hendry gets alot of flak for his FA signings, but his trading record is very strong. The Garza deal was actually a good deal out of context (but not in context). Not every Hendry trade worked (OK, Juan Pierre), but he had alot more hits than misses. Even his FA signings were good early in his tenure, before some of the later ones went off the rails.

      Hendry’s main failing was weak farm system

      1. aaronb

        Which was strange considering it’s was among the best in the game when he was Scouting Director.

        Hiring Stockstill and Wilkin as his successors might have been his biggest failing as a GM.

        And maybe his annoying habit of not getting value out of guys he decided he didn’t want anymore.

        1. aaronb

          And deferring to his managers on personnel.

      2. Noah_I

        The Juan Pierre trade gets a little unfairly derided. He did put up a 3 win season. The mistake was more in not trying to trade Pierre midseason when it was clear that team was going nowhere in 2006. Although Corey Patterson did outperform Juan Pierre that season (3.5 fWAR to 3.1 fWAR), but that was largely based on 2006 being Patterson’s last season as an elite defender before the injuries caught up to him.

    4. hansman

      We paid a pretty penny for him when we got him. Remember, prospects have a value when you trade them away, regardless of what happens in the future.

      It’d be like using Continentals to buy something in 1777. Sure the currency went the way of the Dodo but you still could have bought something else.

      1. Kyle

        It’s more like a futures contract. It should reflect the odds of hitting the future value, and the only way to come out ahead is either get lucky or be better at evaluating than everyone else.

  21. Edwin

    Well, it’s not a robot arm, but I’ll take improved eyesight all the same.

  22. Baseball_Writes

    Ditka says Olt will be an All-Star. Trust Ditka.

  23. Jason P

    I envision a best case scenario for Olt this year as being something close to what Rizzo did last year.

    1. Austin8466

      20+ HRs, 80 RBIs, and elite defense?!

      Sold!

  24. David

    Can you imagine if Olt makes the team and plays on opening day…. he strikes out looking and gets thrown out for arguing…. would love to hear the details of that argument!

  25. woody

    Seems to be an abundance of optimism here for Olt to get the job out of ST. So if he does it changes the dynamics of the roster. As Brett mentioned no platoon would be needed at 3rd. So what the heck are we going to do with the other four guys competing for the second base job and the utility infielder? Also for those clamoring to see Baez in late June, think again. Realisticly I think Olt will have to take some at bats in Iowa. So if Olt wins the 3rd base job outright then either Baez will be playing second or Castro will be traded. I can’t see it any other way.

    1. Noah_I

      Too many players at the positions is a problem you’d love to have. If Olt rakes and is playing great defense at 3B, it gives you a whole host of options: Move Olt or Castro for pitching, move Baez to 2B and put Alcantara in CF or trade Alcantara in a package for pitching. It would also make Christian Villanueva, who likely peaks as a league average bat but has an elite glove, easily moveable.

      It’s not a package that can get you David Price, but if Rizzo and Olt both excel a package of Alcantara, Christian Villanueva and Dan Vogelbach would be in the vicinity of what the Cubs should actually expect for Jeff Samardzija.

  26. DarthHater

    Carrie Muskat ‏@CarrieMuskat 4m
    #Cubs sent Schierholtz home as precautionary move after collision with Lake

    1. DarthHater

      The unaswered question is: Junior Lake? Or Saguaro Lake?

    2. gocatsgo2003

      Also kind of sounds like convenient cover if’n they’re working on a deal to send him elsewhere, but I tend to be a bit of a conspiracy theorist when it comes to trade rumors.

    3. Kyle

      I’m a terrible person, but I’m kind of hoping some of our veteran outfielders get hurt because I really want to see Vitters get a shot.

      1. CubChymyst

        Yes :)

      2. Fishin Phil

        I don’t wish injury on anyone, but I hope Vitters hits enough to force the issue.

      3. Jason P

        Do they need to? The fifth outfielder spot is wide open as it is.

        1. Kyle

          I mean a starting-job spot. I’m going to be triply-annoyed if he doesn’t even get the 5th outfield spot that there’s no good reason in the world not to give him.

          1. Jason P

            I’d be fine with the spot going to anyone under the age of 25 (Kalish, Vitters, Jackson, Szczur). Just no more Darnell Mcdonalds or Casper Wellses.

            Of that group, I’d agree Vitters probably has the most upside. It seems like he’s hit too well in AAA without contact issues to not be useful in some capacity in the bigs.

            And Oliver projects him to hit 20 home runs if given 600 plate appearances, so there’s that.

          2. brickhouse

            Vitters still hasn’t shown he can be a good major league hitter and now has to switch to the of where he would be below average defensively. I think he goes back to AAA

            1. Kyle

              He’s had an excellent last two years hitting, outside of a very brief callup. If we’re burying guys for bad callups, then Rizzo and Sandberg never become regulars.

              I’m not convinced he’d be a below-average defensive RFer.

              1. brickhouse

                Vitters has been decent in small sample sizes in a hitters PCL league. Not enough evidence to show he can be a good everyday or even bench player in the majors. I’m not sure how many bad defensive infielders transition to the outfield and become good defensively.

                1. college_of_coaches

                  Really? I just checked baseball-reference. At AAA, he’s played 138 games with 552 PA, and has posted a career OPS of .873 at this level.

            2. DocPeterWimsey

              It does not follow from the statement “he has to switch to OF” that “he would be bad defensively.” A lot of very good fielding OFers switched from the IF.

              The bigger issue with Vitters is that he seems to be a pure “guess” hitter.

              1. hansman

                With good enough contact ability.

      4. hansman

        We already knew that without your admission there.

  27. Fastball

    Ya know Olt could be Rookie of the Year. He only has like 24 Major League games. He is way under in at bats and all those criteria that make him eligible for Rook of the Year. I am all in on Olt. I think he is gonna be a stud at 3b. What’s better is we can have a really nice infield with Valbuena and Bonafacio ready to back up Barney and Castro or even Olt at 3B. Our infield defensively would have to be considered Excellent! I know it’s counting on a lot of bounce backs from the entire infield offensively. But hitting is extremely infectuous!! Once one or two get hot they all start hitting. When the swagger gets back into these guys look out. In June you bring up Baez to play 2B and this team looks wicked good around the infield. I am so hopeful that Lake just keeps on doing what he did last season and during Winterball. If he does and I think he will, I will be totally stoked. We have enough ways to platoon in the Outfield that we can be above average if Renteria plays his matchups wisely. Then What !!! Tom Ricketts is a PROFIT…. LOL

    1. aaronb

      Olt could win the Rookie of the Year and the MVP this year. Consider the 3rd base problem solved.

    2. Austin8466

      From your fingers to God’s ears.

  28. Kyle

    The guy turns 26 this year. If he doesn’t show MLB ability early in the year, there’s not much reason to hope for further development.

    1. gocatsgo2003

      Except, you know, that whole “he couldn’t really see last year, which was the first really down year in his development, a problem that has supposedly been fixed.” Granted that we have heard the “fixed” line before, but that’s also pretty much the entire reason he’s a member of the Cubs organization at all — if he weren’t viewed by the Rangers as damaged goods, I don’t think there’s any way he is part of that particular Garza package.

      1. Kyle

        Nothing you said in that post changes his age.

        1. gocatsgo2003

          I’m aware of that, but your post seemed to necessarily imply that he is unlikely to show MLB ability without significant further development, which is in and of itself unlikely due to his advanced age. My point is that clearing up blurred vision can go a long way to showing MLB-level abilities and could give plenty of hope for further development from last season.

          1. Kyle

            You missed the point.

            His eyes are cleared up. If he can hit, he’ll show it immediately. If he can’t, then it’s not like another year in Iowa is NBD at his age.

  29. Corey C

    Damn, it’s a good thing. I’m overwhelmed at the amount of talent in the Cubs system. It’s one of those good overwhelming feelings. I like to know the names of the most people in the system, but I can’t because there’s so many!

  30. Bobby_doerfler

    You seem to consistently forget about Logan Watkins, he should play 2B
    for as long as it takes for Javier Baez to replace him.

    Since the team is not going anywhere, we need to find out what hes made of?

    1. Kyle

      We don’t forget about him. He’s just not very good.

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