Every spring there seems to be a player who seemingly comes out of nowhere to grab the attention of enthusiastic Cubs fans longing for a hero. This spring that player may be outfielder Joe Mather, who has made the 25-man roster.
I'm not saying that outfielder Mather can't have a long and productive major league career. I'm just suggesting that it may not be advisable to make a huge emotional investment in him, at least based on the relative value (or lack thereof) of spring training statistics.
Mather is a feel-good story. It was not only Mather’s versatility that won him a job (he can play first base, third and all three outfield spots) he also has batted .418 in Cactus League action and led the club in hits at the start of play Friday with 23.
Yet Mather turns 30 in July, so he's hardly a prospect. And, for his major league career, Mather is a .228 hitter with a dismal .283 OBP.
But then again, that shouldn't surprise anyone who has watched spring training over the years. Many Cubs players have had great springs only to find reality set in once the real season started.
It is with that thought in mind that we go back to 2000 and list 10 players who, like Mather, had terrific springs, only to come up empty at the major league level.