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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  • this team is full of horrible walkup music...rizzo uses 'marky mark and the funky bunch' more than he should...which is any at all.

    d.ross uses 'forever young' because lulz.

    crunch 41 sec ago view
  • ROSS #100!

    cubs lead 1-5, bottom 4.

    crunch 5 min 2 sec ago view
  • Just noticed that Baez's current walk-up song is "Informer" by Snow. Dear God. That's world class bad.

    misterwhipple 7 min 18 sec ago view
  • SOLER POWER!

    crunch 14 min 51 sec ago view
  • Hey Lester is left handed!

    johann 1 hour 7 min ago view
  • Probably a good idea to give Rizz a couple of days off (slumps happen to the best -- Harper just broke a 4-for-33 with a HR yesterday). Never been a big fan of an all-RH lineup. The pitcher has the same look and same target for every hitter. At least, as a mediocre HS pitcher, facing a mixture of LH/RH hitters messed me up. A lack of talent and weak-ass stuff may have also been contributing factors.

    billybucks 1 hour 33 min ago view
  • Would you say Brooks doesn't have any upside going forward? Seems like he could be one of those hybrid starter reliever types maddon seems to like having in his bullpen. But I haven't seen a ton of him, and he got hit around pretty good last year in mlb

    Koyies Bansaw 1 hour 35 min ago view
  • Thanks, Phil!

    Charlie 2 hours 8 min ago view
  • Well executed!

    I've been wracking my brain to work a "Room With a View" reference in there but I just haven't gotten it to work.

    JoePepitone 3 hours 27 min ago view
  • Bryant might be playing SS during an infield shift, no? Usually he is moved to 2B but it could happen.

    Cubster 3 hours 39 min ago view
  • I won't really be happy until I see Bryant at shortstop.

    Old and Blue 3 hours 40 min ago view
  • Yeah, Underwood impresses the internet scouts more than the opposing hitters. Blackburn and Williams have pitched well but they would be more interesting if they missed more bats.

    Myrtle Beach has a couple of guys--Trevor Clifton and Jake Stinnett--worth keeping an eye on.

    South Bend has the best record in the Midwest League but it's more about their bats than their starting pitching.

    VirginiaPhil 4 hours 32 min ago view
  • Thanks Steve, I always forget about that.

    Rob Richardson 4 hours 35 min ago view
  • Maddon spins the wheel-o-lineups and Bryant is playing 1B.

    The line-ups, by the way, appear in the Twitter box on the left and usually very soon after they are made available.

    CTSteve 4 hours 37 min ago view
  • Looks like no Heyward or Rizzo in the lineup today.

    Rob Richardson 4 hours 54 min ago view
  • HAGSAG: Kevonte Mitchell has shown some improvement in 2016. He takes a lot of walks, shows occasional power, and he's an athletic defender capable of making the big play in the OF.

    However, he strikes out way too much, he doesn't always take the most-direct-route to get to balls hit into the air, and he sometimes runs himself into outs on the bases. He is still very raw.  

    Arizona Phil 4 hours 54 min ago view