The Cubs are arguably the worst team in baseball as it stands, with the injuries included. The Cubbie faithful (with this season, their faith must run pretty damn deep) have been clamoring for a "youth movement." Believe me, I'm all for it. The team is a mess not seen since the putrid 2006 season, and the soon-to-be-coming overhaul will be much-needed.
Thing is, there are some young players on-roster that should have nothing to do with this team's future, if they want it to include winning.
Consistently called a fourth-outfielder talent throughout his minor league career, Tyler Colvin was a first-round reach for the Chicago Cubs. An inconsistent defender in center field, he moved to the corner outfield position upon reaching the Majors. In his rookie season, he did better than expected, and posted an OPS just a hair over .800, while hitting 20 home runs.
The more analytical fan would notice the steep drop-off in the second half of his playing time, and saw how he was scarily outmatched once pitcher's knew how to beat him. His problems that plagued him his entire baseball career were screaming out loud every time he came to the plate. He can't work the count, is very impatient and cannot make contact to save his life.
If he were a capable center fielder, Colvin might have real value. Yet since he has nestled into an offensively-minded corner outfield position, or heaven forbid first base, his bat will leave a lot to be desired. His problems at the plate also ignore his defensive struggles, and non-existent value on the basepaths.
All in all, Colvin has shown to look a lot more like Jake Fox (recently designated for assignment...by the Orioles) than fans would like the admit.
Any potential is limited by his major offensive flaws, and how the Cubs media built him up to being a possible star was a joke of itself. Colvin is not a star-level talent, even after a clearly unsustainable hot month or two in his rookie season. He is who he is, and it ain't special. As of today, in over 80 plate appearances, the 25-year-old is hitting a nifty .091 on the season. If the Mendoza line is .200, what do you call batting under .100? Get back to me on that.
This team will have some serious holes to fill next season, with openings in such important positions like right field, first base and third base, team management will have to be crafty with their spending. Some fans want former first-round pick Josh Vitters called up to take the reigns at third. That is, until 10 seconds of research is done on his minor league career. This is a guy hitting .265 with a .300 on-base percentage with no power and horrendous defense at double-A.
Yup, that's the future alright.
Speaking of players who aren't special or exciting, or very good at all, we come to Darwin Barney. For the uninitiated, Barney is a second baseman/shortstop with a .317 on-base percentage, seven doubles all season and a .688 OPS. Why am I mentioning such a lackluster player?
Oh, because a portion of Cub fans and Cubs media have made it seem like he's not only an important part of the Cubs future, but a potential Rookie of the Year and eventual all-star (Quade's words, not mine). I understand the duty of a manager to build his players up, but the Cubs media have again set a standard to which Barney can never live up to.
Scouts pegged him as a potential utility infielder with no patience and absolutely zero extra-base power. He also will never touch double-digit stolen bases, and is a non-factor on the bases. In the field, he has been average this season, with his share of problems as well as quality plays, but far away from anything special.
After a very mediocre minor league career, Barney got off to a quick start in the Majors this season. Yet the savvy fan looked to his skill-set and his lucky batting average on balls in play, and expected a harsh drop-off. Now that has happened, and in all honesty has only begun. The guy only walks in 3 percent of his at-bats, a rate that puts him in the bottom five in ALL OF MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL!
This is coming from a guy fans want at the top of the order. Do you see how ridiculous that is? I hope so, because I feel like I must have missed my sanity pills this morning.
All in all, Barney is an average fielding second baseman who sucks against righty pitching, and honestly is pretty bad at everything offensively except contact, which is going to waning as pitchers know exactly how to beat him.
He'll finish the season with an OPS under .650, and I bet Cubs fans still want him back as a starter, because apparently they have a serious thing for losing. I hate how fans clamor for a winning franchise, yet also want the team to hang onto perennial nobodies.
Rebuilding can be just a detrimental as it can be helpful, and it all clearly depends on the type of players used in the process. Clearly, guys like Colvin and Barney are not who the Cubs need to change their losing ways. Too bad Cubs management keeps trying to appease the North-side fandom instead of being steadfast and putting together a winning situation.
And the hits keep on coming. Except with runners on base. Then they really don't.