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April 2012

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The Unsinkable Blake DeWitt

Written by , Posted in General

If you had asked me at the end of last season if Blake DeWitt would be a Cub on Opening Day, I would have given him less than a 50% chance.  If you’d asked again in early February, after he’d been dropped from the 40-man roster in order to claim Adrian Cardenas (Who? Exactly.) off waivers from Oakland, I would have dropped those odds to less than 10%.

But here we are two days away from the start of the season (two days!), and Blake DeWitt has secured himself a spot on the bench for Opening Day.

How’d he do it?

It might be partly due to the unspectacular .276/.382/.379 he put up in limited playing time this summer.  While those numbers don’t pop off the screen, it appears he’s shown enough to Dale to be awarded the title of “professional hitter.”  And while I haven’t watched enough Spring Training to evaluate it for myself, he’s apparently developed a reputation for quality at-bats and advancing runners (I’m skeptical).

It also might be partly due to his versatility in the field.  He’s always been a relatively decent option at third and second, and–although, again, I haven’t seen it myself–it seems he’s put in the time and work to become less of an embarrassment in the outfield (bigtime skeptical).  However, with the return of Reed Johnson and the emergence of Joe Mather, DeWitt is at best the third or fourth option for backup work in the outfield.  So let’s just go ahead and assume his OF glove will have a nice, thick layer of dust on it before it ever picks up any grass stains.

Personally, I think DeWitt won himself a bench spot by exhibiting a cockroach-like tenacity–he simply refused to die.  Even if he was assured the Cubs still wanted him after he’d been DFA’d, he had no guarantees he’d have a job coming out of the spring.  How many of you would have stayed with a team offering no promises and using your roster spot to pick iffy prospects off the garbage heap?  To his credit, he stuck it out and proved what he needed to to Dale, Theo, and Jed.

And let’s be honest–he probably didn’t really have to prove much.  If I had my druthers, I would be writing about Bobby Scales today.  But aside from the journeyman Scales, the borderline prospect Cardenas, and also-rans like Alfredo Amezaga, there wasn’t a ton of competition for the utility infielder roles.  DeWitt, Jeff Baker, and even Opening Day starter Ian Stewart are on this team at least in part because the other options were worse.  I think we can safely assume it will be a slap fight between the three of them for playing time this season.

And while I know it won’t be pretty, I’m inclined to give DeWitt some slight credit for defying the odds by outlasting and outplaying my expectations.

  • Lizzie

    My thoughts the past week or so was that maybe we should have done these backwards, so we wouldn’t be scraping the bottom of the barrel as we approached the season. After all, we’re supposed to be excited this week! Then I realized we couldn’t have, because no one would have written about the likes of Blake DeWitt or Joe Mather. Good job, Jeremiah. Two days left!!

    • Chuck

      Lizzie, unfortunately I find very few players on this roster woth getting worked up about.  Well…  At least getting worked up in a positive manner.

      • Lizzie

        You’ve got a point there, Chuck. Doesn’t matter if we’re talking about guy #1 or guy #25 because they’re all pretty much the same guy!!!!!

  • My thoughts the past week or so was that maybe we should have done these backwards, so we wouldn’t be scraping the bottom of the barrel as we approached the season. After all, we’re supposed to be excited this week! Then I realized we couldn’t have, because no one would have written about the likes of Blake DeWitt or Joe Mather. Good job, Jeremiah. Two days left!!

    • Chuck

      Lizzie, unfortunately I find very few players on this roster woth getting worked up about.  Well…  At least getting worked up in a positive manner.

      • You’ve got a point there, Chuck. Doesn’t matter if we’re talking about guy #1 or guy #25 because they’re all pretty much the same guy!!!!!

  • Mark P.

    A lefty-light-hitting infielder, capable defender, can work the count–not sexy, but definitely worth something.

    • Blake DeWitt:  Nice backup option at 2nd and 3rd, nicer beard.  

      • Chuck

        It does not come even clost to Matt Clement’s King Tut circa 2003.  That was an impressive collection of whiskers.

  • Mark P.

    A lefty-light-hitting infielder, capable defender, can work the count–not sexy, but definitely worth something.

    • Blake DeWitt:  Nice backup option at 2nd and 3rd, nicer beard.  

      • Chuck

        It does not come even clost to Matt Clement’s King Tut circa 2003.  That was an impressive collection of whiskers.

  • BLPCB

    I thought he stayed with the Cubs because his contract was still guarenteed if he did.

  • cap’n obvious

    all things being equal, I’d rather have Molly Brown as my utility infielder. Or Nefi.

    • Seymour Butts

      Just when I lose hope for the younger generation, somebody gets Jeremiah’s obscure titanic reference….or was it the musical….

      • Lizzie

        I’d make some joke about you guys being alive back then except that we’ve already established I’m in that same age bracket.

      • Jeremiah Johnson

        More of a fluke than a direct reference–I’m familiar with the musical and the film version of it, but the title was only a vague reference to it.  I wanted the title to reference DeWitt’s seemingly indestructible nature, and my original title “Blake DeWitt: Human Cockroach” seemed too mean.

      • cap’n obvious

        I like human cockroach better.  Truthfully, his staying power has a lot more to do with how Gregging lousy everyone else is than how unsinkable he’s been. 

  • cap’n obvious

    all things being equal, I’d rather have Molly Brown as my utility infielder. Or Nefi.

    • Seymour Butts

      Just when I lose hope for the younger generation, somebody gets Jeremiah’s obscure titanic reference….or was it the musical….

      • I’d make some joke about you guys being alive back then except that we’ve already established I’m in that same age bracket.

  • Chuck

    My guess is that Blake will be teh full-time 3B by the end of the season due to Ian not being able to figure out what end of the bat to hold.  Blake fits the mold of a vast majority of the Cubs roster.  He is not a star, he does not suck, he is mediocre and cheap.  Welcome to 75 wins!

    • Jedi

      I’d welcome this, even if it meant Barney got too many opportunities at 2B.

  • Chuck

    My guess is that Blake will be teh full-time 3B by the end of the season due to Ian not being able to figure out what end of the bat to hold.  Blake fits the mold of a vast majority of the Cubs roster.  He is not a star, he does not suck, he is mediocre and cheap.  Welcome to 75 wins!

    • Jedi

      I’d welcome this, even if it meant Barney got too many opportunities at 2B.

  • Doc Raker

    DeWitt is a gritty grinder gamer with moxie. His GGGM above replacement is 12.2 which translates to 122 runs saved produced inversely related to produced saved via v the assumed coefficient of gamer + grit (grinder X moxie).

    • Does the pretend replacement player wear a beard?  Blake’s BAR (Beards Above Replacement) could be a solid 1.  I’ll look into this.  

    • Does the pretend replacement player wear a beard?  Blake’s BAR (Beards Above Replacement) could be a solid 1.  I’ll look into this.  

    • Buddy

      But does he create collaborative chemistry in the Cubs clubhouse?

      • Doc Raker

        He makes everyone around him look that much better, not to be confused with actually making teammates better, they just look comparatively better. Kinda like standing next to Seymour and Capn in a bar at closing time, you look so much better comparatively.

      • Seymour Butts

        Well… some people do.

      • Doc Raker

        He makes everyone around him look that much better, not to be confused with actually making teammates better, they just look comparatively better. Kinda like standing next to Seymour and Capn in a bar at closing time, you look so much better comparatively.

      • Seymour Butts

        Well… some people do.

  • Doc Raker

    Sorry, I know that is so obvious to most of you.

    • Seymour Butts

      Indubitably, but what is his SOCSOG (seeds on chin to seeds on ground) ratio? 

  • Doc Raker

    Sorry, I know that is so obvious to most of you.

    • Seymour Butts

      Indubitably, but what is his SOCSOG (seeds on chin to seeds on ground) ratio?