The Curious Case of Josh Vitters Being Promoted

So pretty much out of nowhere yesterday, the Cubs decided to promote Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters. In a lost season, where getting the #1 draft pick is more important than winning 70 games, I'm all for going with the youth movement. Now when the Cubs were keeping Rizzo in the minors to delay his shot at free agency, TheJedi were spouting that they like their prospects to get a full 162 games at the Triple A level. Rizzo ended up with 163 between his time in Tuscon and Iowa to the tune of a 336/405/670 slash line. There was another factor and that was the play of Bryan LaHair, who after a red hot April deserved all the chances in the world to keep his spot. Yeah, they could have moved him to the outfield sooner, but between LaHair's early play, Rizzo's long-term future and that the Cubs were going to suck regardless, it was a wise decision to keep Rizzo in Iowa.

So with Jackson, while I'm a bit surprised by the call-up, he had played 154 games in Iowa (hey, it's a full season if it's 1960) with a solid slash line of 269/353/502 including 25 HR,73 RBI,105 R, and 33/39 in SB. On top of that, LaHair has gone full Fukudome on us when you look at his OPS by month: (starting in April): 1.251, .793, .686, .517. So there was room on the roster at this point and in the starting lineup, a key point allegedly with calling up prospects, i.e. that they are suppose to play everday(Dusty's head explodes).

Now there is the contact issue with Jackson or lack thereof, and that hasn't gone away, but at age 23, you hope he has a quick enough bat that he isn't going to go full Carlos Pena and end up fighting the Mendoza line. To his credit, he has stayed relatively consistent from month-to-month (.759,.826, .898, .752, .889) and as I mentioned, has youth on his side.

Now with Vitters, I have to admit I'm confused. He's been playing great in Iowa after a rough April (.611, .884, .970, .833, 1.467) and there's certainly a hole named Valbuena that can be filled at the hot corner. But he's only played 110 games at the Triple A level and while I understand that may be more a guideline than a rule, or maybe it was just an excuse, he's also not going to be playing everyday. Allegedly he's going to start as the short-side of the platoon and while he certainly did better versus lefties (1.002 vs. .805), if you're gonna get his feet wet, drown the sucker. And at age 22, the service time issue is of great importance as you really don't want your players hitting free agency before they hit 30 if you believe they're a long term solution.

Which is why I'm wondering if Vitters may not be part of the TheJedi's long-term vision. Are they showcasing him a bit by playing to a strength and limiting his time on defense? Some have wondered if they're taking it easy with him since he's historically struggled starting out at a new level, but it's obviously something that hasn't bothered him on a long-term basis, he seems to adjust just fine and his confidence hasn't waivered, so I don't get the sudden change of sitting 60 to 70% of the time. And then I wonder how many free swingers can TheJedi stomach? They've made it clear they want hitters that work the count, occasionally take a walk and so forth and I think they're pretty committed to Starlin Castro. Will they risk yet another big bat that likes to hack?

Now there smart guys so they'll never admit to such things, they'll play up Vitters' strengths, do their best to build him up as an asset, but I won't be too surprised if he's dealt at some point over the next year or so.

Comments

This is really quite a piss poor response but I do seem to remember reading good things about him somewhere.

Unless I'm thinking of Starlin Castro.

I found this item by toonsterwu on another blog:

[Frank Batista] was the top arm in DSL in 09 (followed roughly by Peralta/Paulino in 2010 and Arias in 2011).

Paulino is struggling at Boise but Batista has 20 saves at Tennessee.

My own weak radar doesn't pick these guys up until they reach Peoria and do something noteworthy there.

Sounds like a sharp guy--seems to know where he's going and how to get there.

I should try to remember that pitchers often need some extra time.

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  • Reds pitching meeting tomorrow:

    "Hey coach...maybe we should walk Bryant?"
    "No...keep challenging him with fastballs! What kind of man are you?! The Cubs walked Harper, and look what happened there! They got teased for it, by one of the Nat players! Is that what you want?"

    billybucks 5 hours 47 min ago view
  • How can I get that feature? I think it woudl be a win-win for all involved.

    billybucks 5 hours 51 min ago view
  • Ian Happ is hitting.733 after 5 games at Tennessee. He went into tonight's game hitting .667 -- and went 3-for-3 to raise his average.

    2-for-3, including a bomb, for LaStella at Iowa. Pierce Johnson very bad -- 2IP, 5ER. Pitching prospects not looking so hot -- Underwood has been awful.

    Did Jiminez get hurt? I noticed he came out early yesterday.

    billybucks 6 hours 39 min ago view
  • Contreras keeps hitting/walking like this, and Miggy keep up the poor D and lack of offense - the kid could be the #1 catcher very soon.

    billybucks 6 hours 45 min ago view
  • it doesn't hurt that the Cardinals lose the KC and the Pirates lost too.

    Cubster 6 hours 45 min ago view
  • ...still trying to process what I just saw. From both KB and Jake. Walking Billy Hamilton twice is a cry for help. I think the nudie photos are messing with Jake's head.

    billybucks 6 hours 48 min ago view
  • Hopefully Peralta's time on the Cubs roster will be shorter than R. Soriano's.

    Cubster 7 hours 4 min ago view
  • it took 9 pitches for peralta to give up his 1st cubs homer. neat.

    crunch 7 hours 8 min ago view
  • damn...totally missed that ruben quevedo died on june 7th. he was only 37...heart attack.

    he threw some really horrible games for the cubs in 2000 and followed it up by doing the same for 3 season for the brewers.

    crunch 7 hours 16 min ago view
  • Holy Kris Bryant what?!

    Ryno 7 hours 17 min ago view
  • Hitting 3 HR, 2 doubles in a game. Never been done in mlb history per Len/Bob.

    Cubster 7 hours 29 min ago view
  • walks? this is baseball, not a nature hike. he needs to get his head in the game.

    in my opinion, he would have been better off hitting 2 homers rather than walking twice. /moneyballs

    crunch 7 hours 32 min ago view
  • Rizzo: 2-3, homer, double, 2 walks - meh

    Eric S 7 hours 35 min ago view
  • in other news, the site seems to be eating about 50% of my comments...which is probably a good thing in hindsight.

    Rob G. 7 hours 36 min ago view
  • The Tucker Barnhart reactions after each Kris Bryant HR are kind of priceless.

    Rob G. 7 hours 40 min ago view
  • ...but, he's also good at home runs, too.

    also, rizzo.

    crunch 7 hours 44 min ago view