Easy As Pie: Are the Chicago Cubs Giving Up Too Soon On Young Outfielder?
Felix Pie (pronounced, PEE-yay) had not quite lived up to the hype he garnered as a young minor leaguer. In his short time in the majors, he has shown terrible knowledge of the strike zone. He hasn't hit for much power and his on-base-percentage keeps the Cubs from inserting him at the top of the line-up.
So, we declare him a bust right?
I have expressed my concern with this. See, Felix is only 23 (24 in February), and has yet to get extended time on the big league club. A shot that he deserves, without worrying about his job day in and day out.
It is not very often that guys with his sort of talent come around. He has speed, a good arm, raw power, and is a great defensive outfielder. He has been praised by minor league players and managers for being all about winning rather than personal accolades.
With the good, does come some bad. While Pie is a .299 career hitter in the minors with an OBP of .355, he tends to strike out a lot. His patience doesn't help the matter when it comes to the big league club. I believe this comes to erratic playing time.
In the past two years, Pie has 260 AB, with a combined .223 BA and .284 OBP. He did however make improvements from 2007 to 2008. His batting average rose .026 points, and his on-base-percentage rose .041 points.
The improvement (.215 to .241 average and .271 to .312 OBP), though still low in totals, isn't enough for Cubs fans to embrace their once coveted prospect. I, on the other, fear that trading him now and not getting a superstar in return, could turn Lou Brock-ish (I am in no way comparing Felix Pie to Lou Brock, except for the fact the Cubs regret the trade) on us, and fulfill his promise in an opponents jersey.
The Cubs' lineup is good enough to weather his bat in a platoon in center field. Having him hit in the eight hole will not hurt the Cubs as bad as it may look, especially if he follows trends set by other outfielders I know a lot of Cubs fans would like.
Carlos Beltran - 2000
372 AB, .247 BA, .309 OBP, 7 HR, 44 RBI, 69 K, 35 BB
Mike Cameron - Career Averages
487 AB, .250 BA, .340 OBP, 20 HR, 71 RBI, 135 K, 62 BB, 24 SB
Torri Hunter - 1999
384 AB, .255 AVG, .309 OBP, 9 HR, 35 RBI, 72 K, 26 BB, 10 SB
Sammy Sosa - 1989 - 1992 (highs)
532 AB (1990), .273 BA (1989, 99 AB), .351 OBP (1989), 15 HR (1990), 70 RBI (1990), 150 K (1990), 33 BB (1990)
Bernie Williams - 1991
320 AB, .238 BA, .336 OBP, 3 HR, 34 RBI, 57 K, 48 BB, 10 SB
Ken Griffey Junior - 1989
455 AB, .264 AVG, .329 OBP, 16 HR, 61 RBI, 83 K, 16 SB
Not all of these stats were from the players first year, specifically Carlos Beltran, who had a wonderful campaign in 1999. The point of this article, is that these players, who have been star outfielders, didn't start their careers off great either. All of them however, got more than 177 AB when they got their chance.
After getting a season, or in Sammy Sosa's case, four professional seasons in, they made significant improvement. Over the years, I have heard Mike Cameron rumors tied to the Cubs, but his career stats are low for a player coveted the way he has been.
The last thing I want to see is Felix Pie playing for another team and succeeding. He is capable of hitting .290, with 10 home runs, 60 RBI, and 100 runs, with 30 stolen bases. If the Cubs do not give him a shot, someone will, and I fear it will be regretted.
Is this scary because of Corey Patterson or have you really seen enough of the outfielder to justify giving him away?
I know I can't justify it.
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