I keep reading and hearing from both Cubs fans and the media alike that Jeff Baker is likely to be the starting second baseman for the Cubs in 2010. If that happens, I think it will be a mistake.
You see, Baker has never done anything outside of Coors Field. It would be a leap of faith by Cubs general manager Jim Hendry to expect Baker to post the same numbers over a full season as he did during his time with the team in 2009.
Similar to the leap of faith exercised by Hendry with Mike Fontenot last year, when he posted that unrealistic BAbip in 2008, Baker has never proven he can hit outside of Denver.
Consider these numbers:
.299/.352/.556/.908 at Coors
.247/.306/.379/.685 away from Coors
.251/.313/.394/.707 2009 with Cubs, if adjusting to a normal (his career away) BAbip (instead of the .360 BAbip he actually saw)
Just like last year when Hendry decided that 300 at bats were sufficient to proclaim Fontenot our guy at second base, Henry seems poised to make that same mistake over again, that is, if the rumored Milton Bradley deal involving the Mets' Luis Castillo doesn't materialize.
If you examine Baker's numbers closely, you'll see that his career away from Coors and his neutralized time with the Cubs are virtually identical.
Another point to consider is that Baker has played only 755 innings in his career at second base.
Well, we have one infielder who is a non-tender candidate already in little Mikey, we don't need another next year. Yet that's exactly what we'll have if Baker posts a 250/.310/.390/.700 slash line as he has away from Coors throughout his career.
Remember that most everyone hopped on the Fontenot bandwagon last year, let's not make the same mistake again with this guy.
Come to think of it...