Your 2013 nightmare is just about over. The bad news was you only played 28 games. The good news is you did well at the plate in that small sample size. 5 homers and 12 runs batted in were a nice touch, and additionally, you had a .380 on base percentage. However it still might not be enough to save you from the Cubs scrap heap. Your 2012 debut in the majors with the Cubs was not one that has other teams beating down the Cubs door. There are some in the press who have given up on you just because of that debut. But me, I like you. I take that back. I like your bat and your picture perfect swing. I, for one, still believe you can make it to the major leagues. It might not be at 3B, but it could be in left field of all places.
What you still have going for you
1. The swing – It is still there, despite your inability to lay off pitches the first time around. Scouts still drool over our swing. I admit it, I still drool over your swing.
2. You know where the strike zone is – Unfortunately, it did not matter to you in 2012. Know, after seeing the Cubs acquire 4 third basemen to replace you (Candelario, Villanueva, Olt, and Bryant), I would hope that you are getting the idea that the front office is not sold on you. I suggest you remember where it is. When you do, you punish the ball.
3. Adjustments – Every time you move up in the organization, it takes you a while to adjust. You do adjust. However, at the major league level, that period of adjustment needs to be faster and needs to be constant.
4. Opportunity – Despite the horrid year being spent injured, you still have the opportunity to go into spring training and compete for a position on the major league team in LF and probably a backup right handed complement to Anthony Rizzo.
5. Your age – 24 – Those ready to give up on you forget you are only 24. I think that is still young. You won’t reach your peak age for three more years. Whether the Cubs organization can wait that long is another issue. 2014 might be your last year. You, and Brett Jackson, are nearing your last, best hope for success.
What you have going against you.
1. Your belief that you can hit any pitch – Sure, you might be able to get some wood on it, but it is not good wood. Your desire to stick at the big leagues was your undoing as you tried to hard to hit any pitch thrown at you. I hope that you learned your lesson last year and approach 2014 with the proper attitude.
2. Defense – You make Roger Dorn look like Brooks Robinson. The new regime has placed on emphasis on defense first. So, wherever you play, you should be staying after, coming early, taking extra flies, working on your throws to the cutoff man.
3. Time – You don’t have much left. Lay off the stuff in the dirt. Lay off the breaking ball off the plate. Make the pitcher throw strikes. Remember where the strike zone is. If the pitch is going to end up in there, don’t swing at it.
Ideally, I hope this helps because I like the fact that you could hit all day long and repeat that swing time after time, after time, after time. Make the adjustments, Josh.