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Chicago Cubs’ Ghosts of Prospects Past

July 11th, 2014 at 6:00 AM
By Tim Duxbury

Nathan Samson, Leon Johnson, Josh Vitters from Flickr via Wylio? 2008 Joel Dinda, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

On Wednesday Arismendy Alcantara made his MLB debut and yesterday he had a career day. Alcantara went 4-5 with three RBI and two runs scored against the Cincinnati Reds.  In fact, Alcantara's performance was so good that it has changed Theo Epstein's mind and now it will be Kyle Hendricks, not Alcantara, who is headed back to Iowa. Arismendy Alcantara's arrival in the big leagues is a sign that the future is finally at our door step. Let’s just hope that his first year in the big league is more successful than past Cubs’ prospects.

The last highly touted hitting prospects to make their MLB debut with the Cubs, 3B Josh Vitters and OF Brett Jackson (both 2012) had terrible first experiences and both have completely fallen off the path the big league futures, since. Vitters, the 3rd overall selection in 2007, and Jackson, the 31st overall selection in 2009, were both very good minor leaguers prior to their debuts (especially the year of their promotion) but neither one has been any good since, hitting new lows in 2014.

 

Josh Vitters stats:

Year

Games

.ave

.obp

HR

RBI

2012 (AAA)

110

.304

.356

17

68

2012 (MLB)

36

.121

.193

2

5

2014 (AAA)

75

.217

.268

7

30

(stats per MLB.com)

 

Brett Jackson stats:

Year

Games

.ave

.obp

HR

RBI

2012 (AAA)

106

.256

.338

15

48

2012 (MLB)

44

.175

.303

4

9

2014 (AAA)

60

.213

.296

5

16

(stats per MLB.com)

Brett Jackson was also a legitimate base stealer in the minors, swiping 27 bases in 32 attempts in 2012 for the Iowa Cubs. He was thrown out in all three attempts of him major league attempts and is only 4-9 this year for the Iowa Cubs. Also, Jackson set an impressive mark with the Cubs in 2012 striking out in 59 of his 120 at bats.

 

Both Vitters and Jackson had such great potential but their poor performances at the big league scarred them for life and they have never been able to reach even half of their potential. Chances are that both will never make it back to the big leagues given their production and age (24 & 25, respectively). The saving grace though is that the Cubs no longer need Vitters and Jackson because their positions will soon be filled by top prospects Kris Bryant and Albert Almora.

That being said, best of luck to Arismendy Alcantara as he begins his big league career and hopefully the Cubs have finally put the ghosts of prospects past in the rearview mirror.

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Tags: Albert Almora, Arismendy Alcantara, Baseball, Brett Jackson, Chicago, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Iowa Cubs, Josh Vitters, Kris Bryant, Kyle Hendricks, MLB, Theo Epstein

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