5 Chicago Cubs Prospects Who Never Panned out
In the over century-long World Series drought the Cubs are currently experiencing, they've had their fair share of heartbreak. Sometimes they've been downright bad, but sometimes they've actually had reason to get excited. Such is the case for the Cubs right now as they are building up a solid hitting farm system with potential future stars like Javier Baez, Albert Almora, Kris Bryant and Jorge Soler.
However, the Cubs have been in this boat before, and it hasn't always panned out. The difference between now and the past in Chicago is that the Cubs have stockpiled multiple prospects at the same time, but they've had highly touted prospects before that ended up flopping big time. Here are five players that the Cubs' "Core Four" will not want to emulate once they reach the big leagues.
Outfielder Corey Patterson
Patterson was the No. 2 prospect in all of baseball entering the 2001 season, but he never quite became the second-best player in the game. The supposedly five-tool player never reached his full potential while playing parts of 12 seasons for the Cubs, Orioles, Reds, Brewers, Nationals, Blue Jays and Cardinals.
At times, Patterson showed flashes of his potential, such as when he stole 45 bases with the Orioles in 2006, but he never put his power potential and speed together and turned out to be a very average player. Certainly, players have had worse careers, but Patterson had a such a bright future that his mediocre career was a disappointment.
Patterson's Career Numbers:
Outfielder Felix Pie
Not touted as a great all-around prospect, Pie was supposed to be a speed demon for the Cubs. However, he went on to play parts of two seasons with the Cubs and wasn't exactly the speed threat they envisioned. Over those two seasons, he stole just 11 bases for the North Siders and didn't hit at a nearly high enough clip. In Cubs uniform, the highest Pie hit was .241.
Pie went on to join the Orioles' organization where he increased his production in 2009 and 2010 by hitting 14 home runs combined in those seasons and getting up to a .274 batting average in the second of those two seasons. After that momentum, though, he tapered back off, and it appears his big league career may be headed toward an untimely end. At just 29, Pie still does have a year or so to try to figure things out.
Pie's Career Numbers:
1B Hee Seop Choi
Hee Seop Choi, who seemed like the Cubs' long-term solution at first base for a while in the early 2000s, ended up flopping by the end of his very short career. Many fans will remember his full-speed collision with pitcher Kerry Wood against the Yankees in which he was knocked out cold but caught the ball nonetheless.
Cubs fans wish that more positive highlights existed for Choi, but the Korean with a great 6'5" frame never seemed to put everything together and couldn't capitalize on his power potential. Choi ended up belting just 40 home runs in his short five-year career. Quite the disappointment given what the Cubs expected of him early on in his career.
Choi's Career Numbers:
2B/3B/Outfielder Ty Griffin
The Cubs took Griffin with the ninth overall pick in the 1988 MLB draft with extremely high hopes. Clearly, he was developing the way the team hoped he would, as he was rated the No. 22 prospect in baseball before the 1990 season began. For whatever reason, though, he never put everything together in order to reach the big league level.
Griffin actually never ended up reaching any level of play higher than Double-A as he struggled to adjust to pitching. For a top 10 overall pick in the draft and a Top 25 prospect just two years after that draft, Griffin had one of the most disappointing careers of any Cubs' draft pick.
Griffin's Career Numbers:
No Major League Stats.
3B Josh Vitters
Vitters is unlike the rest of the players on this list because he still has an outside chance of shedding the "bust" tag. However, he's already being buried amongst the latest crop of minor league talent and needs to prove something to the organization soon. Vitters was the third overall pick in the 2007 MLB draft and was ranked as the No. 43 prospect in all of baseball leading into the 2008 season, but he hasn't nearly lived up to the hype.
It's crazy, but Vitters is still just 24 years old, so he can turn around his career yet. He got a chance to play in 2012 and was underwhelming. Unknown is whether or not Cubs management plans to give Vitters any more chances in the pros before bringing up Bryant to play the hot corner or outfield. It remains to be seen what Vitters' final story will be, but in the first few chapters, he's been quite a bust.