Eric "Please, Please! Don't Call Me Corey" Patterson

In a mildly surprising move, the Cubs called up 2B/OF Eric Patterson today. Many speculated that Matt Murton would get the call instead, but EPat makes just as much sense. If you call up Murton, you've got to play him. You're basically putting him up for an open 15 day audition. At the end of that audition-you're really got to move him. Patterson can play the same positions as Murton (LF and RF), but can also play CF as well as 2B. He's really just a more versatile player.

Patterson certainly didn't get the nod over The Big Murt based on his 2008 minor league performance. Through 11 games at AAA Iowa, Murton is hitting .294/.442/.294 to Patterson's .222/.282/.444. Granted, 11 games isn't a very big sample size from which to draw any conclusions from these numbers.

So who are the Cubs getting for the next two weeks in EPat? As I believe everyone should when beginning a very serious research project, let's turn to Wikipedia first:

"Eric Scott Patterson (born April 8, 1983 in Tallahassee, Florida) is an outfielder in Major League Baseball for the Chicago Cubs; he has played most of his career as a second baseman.[1] Patterson made his major league debut with the Cubs on August 6, 2007.

Although Patterson was originally drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 23rd round of the 2001 Major League Baseball Draft out of Harrison High School in Kennesaw, Georgia, he did not sign and went on instead to attend the Georgia Institute of Technology. With the Yellow Jackets, Patterson was named an Atlantic Coast Conference All-Star three times (2002-2004) and an All-American twice (in 2002 on the Freshman 1st Team, and in 2004 on the 3rd team). He was named to the USA Baseball team twice, in 2002 and 2003.[2] Patterson was selected in the 8th round of the 2004 Major League Baseball Draft by the Cubs.

Patterson played in the 2006 All-Star Futures Game in Pittsburgh,[3] and was ranked the sixth-best prospect in the Cubs organization by Baseball America prior to the 2007 season.[4] He collected his first major league hit on August 7, 2007 by singling against Woody Williams in a game against the Houston Astros.

He is the younger brother of Cincinnati Reds outfielder Corey Patterson."

Patterson is a decent and useful player, but just at age 25 he's already fallen off most of the major Top Prospect type lists. The 2008 Baseball Prospectus annual has this to say about our more favorite Patterson:
"Patterson forms an interesting little case study with older brother Corey. The less athletic of the brothers, Eric is by far the sounder fundamental player, with a very good plate approach and a high baseball IQ. Of course, Eric also played college ball and Corey didn't. One wonders if Corey might have picked up the same skills that Eric did had he too gone to college and, if so, would his career have turned out differently? As for Eric, the Cubs need to get over their fear of the Ghost of Patterson Past and either hand him the second-base job or deal him to a team that will. Eric's is almost certainly a major league-quality skill set, but also one that isn't likely to get much better."
BP projects that Patterson will go .268/.337/.429 with 13 HRs, 21 SBs, and 94 Ks over a 532 PA 2008 season. Also of note is that two of BP's top player comparables for EPat are All-Star 2Bs Eric Owens (who also played OF) and Ray Durham.

Bottom line-this kid isn't a future star, but deserves a shot at an MLB roster. Patterson is likely better than some other every day MLB 2 sacks and were it not for the likes of DeRo, Lil Mikey, and TheRiot, he might be the Cubs'. As an OF, EP seems to profile much better at CF than at either of the corners as he lacks the power to play on the edges. He's fast but is middle of the road in BA and power. But still only 25 and in only his 4th professional season, EPat has plenty of room to grow. Here's to hoping that begins tonight...and to hoping that he can restore some credibility to the name Patterson in Wrigleyville.


Comment (1)

Lionel

April 17, 2008 at 8:53 AM

While E-Pat has a high baseball IQ (according to BP), he seems to lack a high common sense IQ. Part of the reason he hasn't had the opportunity to show off his skills yet is that he makes dumbass mistakes...like oversleeping a team meeting (leading to him getting sent back to AAA at the end of last season).

He has a huge opportunity in front of him right now. If he can logs some AB's as a leadoff hirter, as he does for the I-Cubs, he could be in the mix for the future. I can foresee a situation next year in which he becomes the Cubs everyday 2-sack and leadoff hitter, allowing them to move the Glass Ego down in the lineup and move DeRo to the super-sub spot that they envisioned for him. But for that to happen, he needs to prove he can stay focused on baseball.