The Next Generation of Cub Players and Plate Discipline

baezclippedThe Cubs Convention took place this past weekend. OV's own Aisle424 was present and will summarize his thoughts on it shortly (I think). In the meantime, Josh has already weighed in. Bruce Miles was all over the goings-on, as well, and his twitter feed is well worth checking out. A couple of highlights:

I know the sheen is off the new front office for some, but I still take comfort in the little things, like their understanding of how runs are generated in baseball. In 2012, Almora, Baez, and Soler combined to walk 30 times in 675 plate appearances. That's good for a 4.4% rate, which is not good at all.

Compare these quotes to erstwhile minor league director Oneri Fleita on Josh Vitters near the start of the 2011 season:

There are times when Vitters is too patient at the plate.

Coming in to the 2011 season, Vitters had walked 56 times in 1269 plate appearances. That is good for, you guessed it, a 4.4% rate.

There is something to be said for not calling out young players in public, and there is even a case to be made for not fiddling too much with a player's approach. Fleita himself made this case in to Kevin Goldstein:

You just let guys like that play. I learned a long time ago that guys who can hit .300 with power, you can teach them to hit .200 with no power, so when they have that much talent, you let them write their own script.

The bottom line, though, is that Cubs' system has a plate discipline problem, and has had that problem for as long as I can remember. The talent has not been good enough to let the players "write their own script." The difference between The Thoyer and Hendry Eras is that the former publicly acknowledges that it's a really big deal, and is evidently going to do everything they can to fix it. Jabronis like me can appreciate that.

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