This is certainly not a defense of Patterson. I can't think of another player who has frustrated me as much as Corey P. He might even be the reason for this blog.
But Phil Rogers throws down on this topic today, and guess who is mostly absolved? Corey himself. A must-read article, Rogers maintains Patterson was rushed to the big leagues and compares him to Oddibe McDowell. McDowell played in only 49 minor league games. Rogers also adds, "Shame on the Cubs for continuing to push Patterson even though he had only one really good year in the minors." Not counting his stint in AAA last year, Patterson played in 319 minor league games accumulating almost 1300 ABs.
A few examples of some other players and their minor league experience in games and ABs:
- Steve Finley- 232, 905
- Carlos Beltran- 353, 1274
- Mark Teixeira- 87, 324
- Albert Pujols- 133, 490
- Manny Ramirez- 286, 1038
- Derrek Lee- 639, 2389 (began at age 17)
"Basically, I thought I played well with the Cubs, other than 2005," Patterson said. "I just got in a little rut, and before I knew it I couldn't get out of it. One day I'd try this, I tried that, but I didn't stick with it on a consistent basis.
"Prior to '05, I thought I played well. Last year was a little bump in the road and I couldn't overcome it. They had to make changes. No hard feelings."
That could qualify as delusional. He refused to utilize a winning approach at the plate. He instead kept his long, holey swing and wanted to jack the ball over the fence almost every time up. He refused to work the count, to bunt more often, to lay off certain pitches. In essence, he gave up. He had no plan by which he abided. And he refused to change through several coaching staffs.
Patterson could have stayed in the minors for 15 seasons. It wouldn't matter unless he changed his approach. And yes, some of that blame does fall on the Cubs coaches. But shame on them? Shame on Corey for not adjusting and thinking he was such a great hitter he need not follow the script.
Sammy Sosa, possible drug use aside, became a great hitter--not just homerun hitter--when he started working the count, getting a good pitch to hit and going the other way. It's amazing the type of success you can have when you are hitting in 2-0 and 3-1 counts as opposed to 0-1 and 1-2.
Should Patterson finally acquiesce to what has worked for a gazillion of the greatest players, perhaps he will turn around his career and utilize those 5 tools. But I'll believe it when I see it.