If you are a true Cubs fan, you know who I am talking about. Mike Fontenot, a.k.a "Little Babe Ruth" (as Cubs Radio Announcer and Legend—Ron Santo—calls him), should and needs to be given the second base job in 2009.
At 5'8", Fontenot has shown baseball once again that even the tiny guys can play. The former first-round draft pick (19th overall) by the Baltimore Orioles, as well as their Minor League Player of the Year in 2003, he is the only player left in the Cubs system from their infamous Sammy Sosa trade in 2005.
Fontenot hit .397 in his first 78 at-bats in 20 games, which also included eight multi-hit games, including a game in which he went 5-for-5. I seriously thought he would have a serious shot at rookie of the year. Unfortunately, he did slump a ton after that and he ended up hitting just .278.
While watching the Cubs this year, I noticed that most of the time that Fontenot actually starts in a game he would end up with at least one hit. I did the research and it ended up that when Fontenot hit safely in 48 of the 61 games in which he received more than one at-bat. I don't know about you, but I would take that kind of production from anyone.
He even ended the season on a tear, hitting .471 in the September, as well as going 8-for-13 in his last three games of the regular season.
Yet, along with many of the Cubs' season-long contributors, like Reed Johnson, Fontenot saw very limited action in the postseason. I just couldn't understand how you only start Fontenot once after ending the season like that, especially with all those righties, and keep Hoffpauir, who hit .390 in September, off the roster. But I am still trying to forget this year actually happened.
Fontenot ended the 2008 season batting .305 with 22 doubles, nine home runs, 42 runs scored, and 40 RBI. He slugged .514, tied for second overall in second basemen playing in the N.L., with Dan Uggla, with a .395 OBP and a .909 OBS (Chase Utley was the only second baseman above that at .915 OBS).
I understand that Fontenot only received 243 at-bats this season, but give me a break. These numbers should be allowing him to play second base for the Cubs.
I just hope that Hendry isn't dumb enough to trade him away and is smart enough to let him start at second. Let DeRosa play right field and have Johnson and Fukudome platoon in center.
Say Fonte-yes to the "Pocket Rocket" and the Cubs won't regret it.