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Scouting Report on Eric Patterson

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  • Scouting Report on Eric Patterson

    Sunday, January 08 2006 @ 03:05 AM CST | Contributed by: Bob Sacamento |

    This is the fourth installment of CubsHub.com's Scouting Reports on the Cubs top prospects. The previous were Felix Pie, Angel Guzman and Rich Hill.

    Eric Patterson
    Height: 5-11
    Weight: 175
    Position: 2B
    B/T: L/R
    DOB: 04/08/83
    Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia

    Georgia Tech numbers:

    As a freshman in 2002, he appeared in 67 games, going 90 for 260, with 73 runs, 14 doubles, 3 triples, 3 hrs, 40 rbi, 37 bb, 42 k, 41/50 sb, .346/.438/.458/.896

    As a sophmore in 2003, he appeared in 59 games, going 68 for 248 with 56 runs, 11 doubles, 4 triples, 2 hrs, 35 rbi, 29 bb, 44 k, 35/41 sb, .274/.351/.375/.725

    As a junior in 2004, he appeared in 65 games going 86 for 264, with 76 runs, 11 doubles, 5 triples, 9 hrs, 49 rbi, 52 bb, 54 k, 48/55 sb, .326/.433/.508/.941.

    2005 season at Peoria:

    Appeared in 110 games, going 144 for 432 with 90 runs, 26 doubles, 11 triples, 13 hrs, 71 rbi, 53 bb, 94 k, 40/51 in sb, .333/.405/.535/.940

    2005 season at West Tenn and playoffs:

    In the regular season, he appeared in 9 games, going 6 for 30 with 5 runs, 6 doubles, 2 triples, 2 rbi, 6 bb, 7 k, 3/5 .200/.324/.267/.591

    In the playoffs against the Mudcats (Marlins) and the Suns (Dodgers), he appeared in 7 games, going 7 for 27 with a run, 4 doubles, 1 rbi, 1 bb, 9 K, 1/2 in sb, .259/.286/.407/.693.

    2005 Arizona Fall League:

    He appeared in 19 games, going 25 for 83 with 20 runs, 4 doubles, 1 triple, 5 rbi, 6 bb, 17 k, 5/8 in sb, .300/.344/.373/.717

    The Cubs really got a draft bargain in Eric in the 8th round and at 300K. Most scouting reports and predictions had the former GT shortstop going in the first three rounds if not the first two. But as the question of signability and whether he would return for his senior year arose, teams were less inclined to use an upper level pick on him. The Cubs gambled and it's going to pay off for both parts.

    Right now there is probably not another last name in the Cubs' farm system that conjures up as much bad connotations as the last name Patterson. And scouts even admit to downgrading Eric due the the "sure thing" many thought his brother would be. But Eric is like the "bizzaro" Patterson.

    About the only thing him and his brother have in common is good defense and blazing speed. Eric has a completely open stance, a much shorter stroke and has prospered with a nice hitting approach under the Georgia Tech system. Eric also uses his speed at the plate by hitting line drives and the ball on the ground. He turned in a nice 2005 campaign even if most of the season was spend as an older player in the Midwest League (low A). He struggled at first being called up late to West Tenn, but still flashed his skills in the playoffs as he helped the Jaxx advance to the championship series against one of the greatest minor league teams ever. The Cubs were so impressed with his play this season that he was invited to the Arizona Fall League, land of the top prospects and MLB ready players, and shined there as well.

    Batting & Power: Due to his college play at one of the best baseball institutes in the land, Eric Patterson morphed his approach at the plate since high school. Where like his brother, he displayed raw power potential that many scouts believed he could turn into 20-25 hrs in the MLB. Yet Eric doesn't have nearly the power or strength as his brother, Corey. Probably at his power height in the MLB, Eric will probably hit 15 hrs. Due to college, he's more of a line-drive hitter who slaps the ball around so that he can use his great speed. His extra base hits will likely be gapping or down the line doubles that he can sometimes convert into triples with the occassional dinger. But WARNING, he does have a high likelihood of adding more strength and power over the next two seasons. Hopefully he won't revert to his huge uppercut "high school" swing as he adds more power.

    Eric's approach at the plate allows him to be the prototypical leadoff hitter, he works counts and walks at good clip. The only thing he has working against him is a high strikeout rate, which most scouts attribute to adjusting from college to the minor leagues. But there are some scouts who say it's the "swing free" Patterson way.

    Baserunning & Speed: Patterson not only has pure speed, one of the fastest in all of the Cub minors. He was regarded by most scouts to be the fastest player available in the 2004 draft. In addition to pure speed he has great basestealing instincts. He was 40/51 (79%) at Peoria and 48/64 (75%) in low A/AA/AFL. His stealing techniques will only get better with more and more practice on his jumps and slides. He'll likely be working with Vince Coleman this spring on learning more about the art of stealing on an MLB level.

    Defense: Eric plays a great second base. He covers good ground on both sides and has an above average arm for a two-bagger. In college he was Georgia Tech's shortstop with some time at second. But on an MLB level, Patterson's arm at SS would be average at best (still better than Eckstein's) and his defense would be questionable. Thus the Cubs switch of positions once drafting him.

    Biggest Strength: Leadoff Ability and MLB readiness

    The Cubs have not produced a viable leadoff man since Jerome Walton's 1989 season. But Patterson is the light at the end of the tunnel. Not only does he have the speed and basestealing ability to leadoff, but he possesses the hitting style and plate approach to be one of the game's top leadoff man.

    Not only does he have the ability to leadoff but he has the ability to be leading off for the Cubs in a year. Notch that up to his extensive college play and ability to adjust quickly to his surroundings.

    Biggest Weaknesses: High K rate

    This year in all leagues, Eric struck out in 22% of his at bats. During his Junior year (his last season at college), he was around the same clip. When he starts to struggle with making contact, he regresses and starts to swing at pitches out of the zone and doing more with the ball than he should. When he's struggling, he doesn't take full advantage of his amazing quickness by putting the ball on the ground. The Cubs definately need to work on bunting with him, it will make him an even deadlier player.

    Keys to Success: Continue to walk and lessen K's

    And he'll likely continue the same 20-25% rate throughout. Prorate that out over 600 at bats and that's about 120-150 K. But in the same breath, he'll help balance that out with a 12-15% bb rate, which is a prorated 75-90 bb. He has the maturity to prosper and fly through the Cubs system. Depending on how quickly he adjusts he could get a promotion to Iowa or even a September callup.

    MLB Comparisons: Ray Durham

    The two are very similiar in their approach at the plate and their offensive abilities. Durham strikes out 100 or so times a season, but he helps balance that with about 70 or so walks. Both players have great baserunning and speed which they use to their advantage. Durham has also shown a possible pitfall that Patterson needs to avoid and that is falling in love with the power potential that he could very well develop. In the field, as a second baseman Patterson is a better defender and has a stronger arm. Like Durham, Patterson is very athletic and could likely play LF/CF in a pinch. Both players have great speed, but Patterson is faster and already has better basestealing instincts.

    Bob’s Bottom Line: I expect to see Eric Patterson compete for the second baseman job in 2007 season, and he could see some time MLB this season depending on his learning curve at West Tennessee. My prediction is he will definately be a starting 2B by 2008. Eric Patterson is the leadoff hitter the Cubs have been looking to produce for eons. He has every possible asset to be leading off in Chicago for 6+ years if not longer.

    Next Scouting Report: Matt Murton
    BELIEVE

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