Before we start with part II in the series, I wanted to present a quote from big time tool, Roy Williams from UNC in response to a question about his team struggling this season after winning the national championship in 2009.

“Our massage therapist told me, ‘You know, coach, what happened in Haiti is a catastrophe. What you’re having is a disappointment,’ ” said Williams. “I told her that depends on what chair you’re sitting in. It does feel like a catastrophe to me, because it is my life.” ~ Roy Williams

With that out of the way, it’s on to a look at the first base position in the system.

Derrek Lee
Year   Age  PA  R 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB  SO   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS OPS+
2007    31 650 91 43  1 22  82  6 71 114 .317 .400 .513 .913  130
2008    32 698 93 41  3 20  90  8 71 119 .291 .361 .462 .823  108
2009    33 615 91 36  2 35 111  1 76 109 .306 .393 .579 .972  145

Expected Level: Major League Starter (FA at year's end)

How Acquired: Trade with Florida for Mike Nanninni & Hee Seop Choi

My Comment: Most of were guilty last year of being a hater when it came to Lee. I found myself on multiple occasions asking for more playing time for Micah Hoffpauir at first base only to see Lee going insane with the bat for the majority of the season. It’s a key year for Lee, who will be a free agent at the end of the year. Hendry has said he would be interested, if the price is right, in bringing Lee and Ted Lilly back on short term extensions. I think we’ll see from this breakdown that first base is not a well stocked position in the system. Depending on his health and 2010 performance, it may be a decent idea to bring Lee back on a short term (1-2 year) extension if the price is right.

Rebel Ridling
Year   Age  Lev  PA  R 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS
2008    22 A-A- 260 32 15  0 14  54  1 13 68 .250 .304 .492 .795
2009    23    A 586 74 34  1 16  97  2 40 95 .310 .357 .466 .823

Expected Level: Starter in for High-A Daytona or potentially AA Tennessee.

How Acquired: Drafted by the Cubs in the 25th round (2008)

What the Scouts Say: Ridling hits line drives to all fields with authority,
showing an impressive bat that projects to continue to produce high batting
averages (.310 in 2009). The main concern is that his performance was a
result of a 23 year old college hitter repeating the Midwest League, and he is
somewhat behind the typical progression. (Wrigley Bound)

My Comment: I’m a fan of Ridling. Ryan Flaherty mentioned him as a name that most don’t know, but should. That’s evident in the fact that he didn’t even get a mention in John Sickel’s prospect book for this year that featured 39 names in the system. You’re really telling me that he’s not a top 39 prospect? Really? I’m not buying that. Ridling came in as my # 13 prospect in the system as of November. I believe he’s going to figure things out even more in 2010 and make a big jump in the system. He’s a guy I’ve got high hopes for, despite the fact that he’s a little behind in the development. I can see him being a guy that puts up numbers similar in nature to Will Clark.

Other Notable Names

  • Blake Lalli – Age is not on his side (27), but he’s shown he can hit for average from the left side of the plate. Lacks the power typically needed at the position.
  • Ryne White – Familiar first name for Cub fans. Acquired in the off-season in the A. Heilmann deal. Good OBP guy.
  • Jake Fox – oh wait, we traded him for nothing
  • Albert Hernandez – Hit .295 / .397 / .440 for the Dominican Summer league in 2009
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Joe Aiello is the founder of View From the Bleachers and one of the lead writers. 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 and helps people protect their assets as an independent insurance agent. Connect with Joe via Twitter / Facebook / E-mail