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Welcome to the Big Leagues, Rook: Cubs’ Rookies Face Huge Learning Curve

August 22nd, 2014 at 4:00 PM
By Tim Duxbury

Making the jump to the big leagues is the hardest thing that any minor leaguer will do in his career. So far, the Chicago Cubs have had 4 high-profile rookies log at bats with the club and their performances show just how difficult that transition is. All six put up respectable numbers for the Iowa Cubs, the Chicago Cubs AAA affiliate, this year:

Player

Games

.ave

.obp

HR

RBI

SB

Arismendy Alcantara

89

.307

.53

10

41

21

Javier Baez

104

.260

.323

23

80

16

Mike Olt

28

.302

.348

7

24

1

Matt Szczur

116

.261

.315

1

24

30

However their success has not translated at the big league level, yet.

Player

Games

.ave

.obp

HR

RBI

K

Arismendy Alcantara

38

.206

.269

3

13

49

Javier Baez

17

.216

.256

610

31

Mike Olt

72

.139

.222

12

30

84

Matt Szczur

5

.125

.125

0

0

1

We’ll hold judgment on Matt Szczur since his sample size is so small, but on the whole, this group has been in for a rude awakening. But it is good that this group is going through these growing pains now because it will help prepare them better for 2015. Additionally, struggling as a rookie is far from a death sentence. Plenty of guys have struggled in their first stint in the big leagues and gone on to have very successful careers:

Player

Games

.ave

.obp

HR

RBI

K

Jose Bautista (‘04)

64

.205

.263

0

2

40

Adrian Gonzalez (‘05)

43

.227

.272

6

17

37

Dustin Pedroia (’06)

31

.191

.258

2

7

7

Anthony Rizzo (’11)

49

.141

.281

1

9

46

Mike Trout (’11)

40

.220

.281

5

16

30

(stats per baseball-reference.com)

All of these guys had horrible MLB debuts but then, as Dustin Pedroia said, “laser show”. The above players collectively have two rookie of the year awards, 17 all-star appearances and one MVP (six top-5 finishes). We have said it before; players often improve the most following a season in which they, flat out, got their ass kicked. By struggling, each of these all-stars learned what they needed to work on and they made the adjustments, and so too will the Cubs’ rookies.

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Tags: all-star, Anthony Rizzo, Arismendy Alcantara, Baseball, Chicago, Chicago Cubs, Dustin Pedroia, Javier Baez, Matt Szczur, Mike Olt, MLB, MVP, rookie of the year

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