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WHY THESE GUYS ARE NOT GARY SCOTT AND COREY PATTERSON


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14 replies to this topic

#1 Oswego Chris

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 10:48 AM

I must admit that I listen to sports radio from time to time, and when discussion of the Cubs' "plan" is broached, many times a caller(usually an older fella...sorry for the ageism) will complain about prospects being just that...prospects.  Invariably saying something like this: "We seen it before, Corey Patterson, Felix Pie(pronounce Pie, like the Pie you eat), Gary Scott, Angel Goosman" (like how I inserted the poor pronounciation, grammar and spelling)

 

The problem is, the logic of the caller(and many posters on this site) is flawed...we haven't seen this before.  Sure we have seen Cubs' prospects before, but with everything in our mostly awesome society...prospect evaluation has advanced to a state that has never been approached before.  Prospect evaluation has improved in scope, analysis, availability, volume and every other synonym I didn't use.  Baseball America has been ranking the top 100 prospects since 1983...there are now at least 5 prospect services as respected as BA...and even BA has improved immensly in their accuracy. Here is the history of BA's top 100(notice how much they have improved)

 

http://www.baseballa.../all-time/#2001

 

So when old-timers compare this current crop to the Gary Scotts' and Ty Griffins' of the world, it's not a fair comparison. Fangraphs, Keith Law's Top 100, etc...did not exist, there was not near the analysis nor consensus of that analysis there is today.

 

Will all of the Cubs prospects make it?

 

No.

 

Has their ever been a time in history where high prospect rankings likely portend success as they do today?

 

No.

 

Therefore the excitement is tangible, and no, it's not like anything we have ever seen before.

 

@BBCG105Reasons



#2 udbrky

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 12:11 PM

Totally agree.

 

It's awesome to look back just a couple years, and see that Logan Watkins and Nick Struck were minor league POYs, and Vitters and Jackson were top prospects.

 

Now, just 2 years into the Theogime, all 4 are fringe because of the players we've brought in.



#3 Nate

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 03:45 PM

I agree that scouting is way better but I still don't want to 'wait and see how this plays out'.  I want to trade some of these prospects and soon.  Why?  even with better scouting maybe half the top 10 will be really good and few after that.  With seven top 100 guys, three or four will be good productive major leaguers.  The goal of the front office needs to be to figure out which and selling high on the others.  How much higher can some of them climb.  The time is nearing.  Is there somebody I want to trade for?  Nope.  At some point soon you have to make a move.  Maybe next off season?  I would love to see a team with Rizzo, Castro, Baez, Alcantara, Soler, Almora, Bryant but I don't believe it will really happen.



#4 wvcubsfan

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Posted 22 February 2014 - 10:36 AM

Where to start?

 

First, Pie and Patterson both had fairly long careers in the majors so it's incredibly hard to label them as busts.  Did they fail to live up to the impossible expectations the fans heaped on them?  Of course.

 

Guzman was a case of injury more than anything else, hard to blame that on anything.

 

As much as I like the current front office, they aren't some mythical combination doing things that no one has ever done before.  Not elsewhere or for the Cubs.

 

The fallacy that the Cubs minor league systems have always been terrible and were the worst when the new guys took over has gone way over the top.

 

The POY in the minors aren't the top prospects due to a variety of reasons (changes in levels, call ups, and innings limits) so that's not the best barometer to use. 

 

Jackson is like all other top prospects in that the athletic ability is there, the tools are there, but he has one glaring weakness that can be exploited by the best of the best. 

 

Vitters' main problems is that expectations are also unreasonable (timing people seem to think he's older than he is) and a few minor injuries.  It's way too early to say he's anywhere near a bust, and probably the closest prospect to the major leagues.



#5 DocPeterWimsey

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 03:32 PM

 

I agree that scouting is way better but I still don't want to 'wait and see how this plays out'.  I want to trade some of these prospects and soon.  Why?  even with better scouting maybe half the top 10 will be really good and few after that.  

 

I suspect that it has much less to do with scouting and much more to do with statistics.  We have a much better understanding of how basic performances correlate with major league performances than we did 10+ years ago.  Corey Patterson offers a good example.  People noted his lack of pitch recognition when he was a minor leaguer.  However, scouts and FOs "knew" that guys often improved pitch recognition with age.  Except, of course, that it turns out that they don't: and the BB-rates (and K:BB ratios) that guys put up at young ages in miLB are very predictive of what they'll do as MLBers.  Patterson was, in the end, just another datum there.  

 

Vitters' main problems is that expectations are also unreasonable (timing people seem to think he's older than he is) and a few minor injuries.  It's way too early to say he's anywhere near a bust, and probably the closest prospect to the major leagues.

Vitters was one of the last guys drafted for whom we were promised that his pitch recognition would improve with age.  By 2008, only a few FO's still believed that: and the Cubs had one!

 

Vitters will always be a guess hitter.  Really, his ceiling is a Jeff Franceour type that some old-schoolers love, but providing very little (or no) value to his team due to very poor OBP.  


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#6 Luke

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 06:16 PM

While I agree with your point broadly, I'm still not convinced that Vitters is just a guess hitter.  The numbers say that, but the scouts are pretty much in agreement that he has quite the good batting eye, but that his problem is a lack of patience.  He can hit lots of pitches, and tended to take the first one he could hit regardless of whether that "hit" was a weak infield grounder or a double off the wall.  So far as I can tell, that sort of a problem would be almost indistinguishable from a true swing and hope for the best type hitter on the stat sheet.  His (admittedly limited in sample size and) generally abbreviated 2013 campaign lends some weak evidence that the scouts might have this one right.

 

We'll find out this season, if Vitters can stay healthy.

 

But I also agree that, if that is the case, Vitters is a fairly unusual exception and not a phenomenon we can expect to see often. 



#7 college_of_coaches

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 07:36 PM

Doc,

I seem to remember you stating that poor pitch-selection (bad batting eye) becomes apparent as a player advances through the minors. The symptoms being an increase in Ks and a decrease in BBs. The reasons are simple: better pitching at the higher levels. If memory serves me correctly, you used CPatterson to demonstrate this trend.

 

Looking at Vitters' numbers, I'm not seeing this. His BBs have increased at each level: 

A/A+  = 20 BB in 618 PA

AA     = 35 BB in 716 PA

AAA   = 41 BB in 552 PA

Sure, the walk totals are not astounding, and the strikeouts have remained relatively consistent. But are there other explanations for these numbers? What am I missing here?

 

Thanks, CC



#8 Luke

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 10:21 PM

Totally agree.

 

It's awesome to look back just a couple years, and see that Logan Watkins and Nick Struck were minor league POYs, and Vitters and Jackson were top prospects.

 

Now, just 2 years into the Theogime, all 4 are fringe because of the players we've brought in.

 

Organizational Player of the Year awards are not top prospect awards.  Nick Struck was and is a fringe back of the rotation guy, but he had a great year and picked up a POY.  Watkins has always projected best as a versatile and patient utility guy off the bench (although I am one who thinks he could outproduce Barney as a regular 2B).  

 

And, to be honest, if people weren't suffering from name fatigue I think Vitters would be higher in the rankings.  Moving off of third knocks him down quite a bit, but he has produced very well at a young age in Triple A.  That's what we expect good prospects to do, but for some reason in the case of Vitters that isn't enough for many Cub fans.

 

If the Cubs managed to trade for a guy with career AAA numbers of .302/.361/.513, numbers put up during his age 22 and 23 seasons, the fans around here would be doing joyous backflips and excitement would be extremely high.  But you put the name "Josh Vitters" in front of that line and suddenly in the minds of many he's a total bust that we should just be giving up on.

 

I honestly don't get it.  

 

I am not yet finished with the Top 40 and things can still change, but right now I am having a hard time finding reasons to rank Vitters outside of the Top 12 or so.



#9 udbrky

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 11:06 PM

Right, I just was pointing out that we went from marginal prospects to legit ones. Not just top 10 in the org, but top in the majors. I don't think a lot of the previous prospects ever were more than the best of what we had available.



#10 fromthemitten

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 06:13 PM

I made a post about the Cubs top prospects 10 years ago (right after Patterson was called up).  The no 1 prospect was Francis Freakin Beltran.  Even then as a 18 year old, I knew he wasn't going to be the next coming of Mariano Rivera, let alone a Kyle Farnsworth.  This is probably the best shape the minors have been in my entire life (I'm pushing 30), if not ever.



#11 5412

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 10:00 AM

Hi,

At almost 74, I guess I am an old guy.

FWIW, I think Pie was pronounced like Peeaa.

The problem in the past was hype versus reality. We have not consistently had impact players come through the minor leagues since the Tribune fired Dallas Green. When do we get our Pujols or other HOF worthy players come through the system?

Let's not forget that one of the first things Ricketts had to do was beef up scouting and player development. The team hired something like 120 people in the front office to bring the team to parity with the league...that means just catching up.

Who can blame the skeptics? I agree things will get better with home grown talent but it is going to take some time to improve the product on the field - and then to change our attitudes from having bought into the BS in the past.

Just to use Pujols as an example...I believe the 12-13 guys the Cubs drafted ahead of him played something like a combined 20 major league games. The Tribune screwed us for years and it will take some time before we see the mess they created get fixed.

Regards,
5412

#12 wvcubsfan

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 07:28 PM

Hi,



Just to use Pujols as an example...I believe the 12-13 guys the Cubs drafted ahead of him played something like a combined 20 major league games. The Tribune screwed us for years and it will take some time before we see the mess they created get fixed.

Regards,
5412

Let's be fair here, it wasn't only the Cubs who drafted 12-13 guys before him.

 

Hell, let's throw Piazza in there if we want to use 20/20 hindsight



#13 5412

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 01:54 PM

 

Hi,



Just to use Pujols as an example...I believe the 12-13 guys the Cubs drafted ahead of him played something like a combined 20 major league games. The Tribune screwed us for years and it will take some time before we see the mess they created get fixed.

Regards,
5412

Let's be fair here, it wasn't only the Cubs who drafted 12-13 guys before him.

 

Hell, let's throw Piazza in there if we want to use 20/20 hindsight

 

Hi,

 

While I agree with you to a point, I add this.  The other teams that passed on Pujols would have had to go a long way to match the Cub futility from the entire draft.

 

I spoke at length with Tom Ricketts last summer and asked him what the biggest surprise was when they bought the team.  He said they knew the farm system was bad, but they did not realize just how bad it really was.

 

That corroborated with the number of MLB scouts that played ball with my son in college who have told me the same things for the last 20+ years.  The horror stories I continually heard about the Cubs above all other teams were amazing.

 

When the team has to add 120 new people to bring the front office up to parity, it should speak volumes about how badly the Tribune screwed the fans behind the scenes.

 

regards,

5412



#14 wvcubsfan

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 05:54 PM

 

 

Hi,



Just to use Pujols as an example...I believe the 12-13 guys the Cubs drafted ahead of him played something like a combined 20 major league games. The Tribune screwed us for years and it will take some time before we see the mess they created get fixed.

Regards,
5412

Let's be fair here, it wasn't only the Cubs who drafted 12-13 guys before him.

 

Hell, let's throw Piazza in there if we want to use 20/20 hindsight

 

Hi,

 

While I agree with you to a point, I add this.  The other teams that passed on Pujols would have had to go a long way to match the Cub futility from the entire draft.

 

I spoke at length with Tom Ricketts last summer and asked him what the biggest surprise was when they bought the team.  He said they knew the farm system was bad, but they did not realize just how bad it really was.

 

That corroborated with the number of MLB scouts that played ball with my son in college who have told me the same things for the last 20+ years.  The horror stories I continually heard about the Cubs above all other teams were amazing.

 

When the team has to add 120 new people to bring the front office up to parity, it should speak volumes about how badly the Tribune screwed the fans behind the scenes.

 

regards,

5412

 

I don't disagree with anything there, but using AP and other extreme outliers isn't where that shows up.

 

Where this is paramount, in my opinion, is in the quantity of first and second round picks that failed to make it for reasons other than injury in comparison to those players taken 5-10 slots BEHIND where the Cubs were picking.



#15 Luke

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 07:37 PM

Pujols is a good example that sometimes even all the scouts mess up, but that's about it.  






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