It’s hard to focus today with the Illini game just 9 hours away as I write this. Today we have the opportunity to talk about the CF position, which is one that a lot of people that write Cubs blogs despise. Tomorrow, we’ll cover the Ace SP and “Closer” on the team. Enjoy!!!

CenterfieldCorey Patterson
This is a guy that takes a TON of heat from Cub fans. Numerous times on this site, we’ve bashed him to the ground about so many aspects of his game. Don’t believe me? Listen to the audio found here from when I was on Life’s a Pitch radio show the first time. It’s a good listen if you have 15 – 20 min. to spare. Over the last year my hatred for Patterson has diminished. I would not go as far as to say that I like him now, but at least I no longer despise him. Gotta start somewhere right? He is maturing as a hitter and I believe this year may be another step forward. His habit for being overly aggressive at the plate is the one thing that bugs me. Sure he swings for the fences, but how many young players don’t? He just needs to learn to wait back a little more to see some pitches. This is what I would go up to him and tell him if I was Gene Clines this year. “Corey, let me explain something to you. As a leadoff hitter, you are writing a book in your mind and for your teammates about the starting pitcher in that first at bat. The more pitches you see, the more you know and the better that book is for the next AB. It’s as if you’re able to study that player’s cliffs notes. Take some pitches so we can see what these guys throw.” He would then proceed to look at the first pitch that is called for a ball, look back at me and smile, and then proceed to take 3 straight monstrous hacks for strike 3.

Could Be Better
Do I really have to mention another Cardinal? Jim Edmonds, despite turning 35 this year is still one the top CF in the game today. His defense is great and his bat is outstanding. While I would not want him to replace Patterson for the longhaul, 2005 would be nice. It’s hard to pick a guy this old to be the top CF, but he’s just that good. Stupid Cardinals!!!!

Could Be Worse
Look at it this way the next time you bash Corey Patterson, our CF in 2005 could be Luis Matos from Baltimore. Matos comes in ranked by CBS Sportsline as the 32nd best CF. Anytime you come in ranked lower than the number of teams, you know you’re probably not that good. Matos fits that bill. Granted, he did have a decent year in 2003, but that was the first one of his career, including the minors. He has no power to speak of, which is fine if you’re a contact guy or a speed burner. Matos is neither. He hit .224 last year and stole 12 bases.

VORP Numbers

Edmonds – 88.9 (1st in the Majors)
Patterson – 27.9 (6th in the NL)
Matos-8.1 (Last in the AL)

Unrelated Side Notes

  • Andy has added a link to contact me via AIM up in the right corner. It’s next to my e-mail contact link. Feel free to contact me via either anytime. I always love hearing from the readers.

  • In case you never had a chance to listen to them, look to the left and we have 4 audio files. Three are from my appearances on a Cleveland Sports Talk Show called Life’s a pitch, and the other one is a well worth listening to interview with current Cubs radio man, Pat Hughes. Check them out as you start to get up for the baseball season this year.
  • Random Question – Why did the Cubs not just skip signing Burnitz and go with Dubois, Patterson, Hollandsworth, with Kelton on the team as well for depth?
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Joe Aiello is the founder of View From the Bleachers and one of the lead writers as well as host of VFTB Radio. Growing up in Chicago, he fondly remembers attending games in the bleachers before that was the popular thing to do. Currently Joe resides in North Carolina with his wife and three kids. Connect with Joe via Twitter / Facebook / E-mail