The Patterson name is one that is well known to Cubs fans because of Corey who was a bright star in the Cubs Minor League system that finally made it to the big club. Corey was supposed to be the next great star for the Cubs but it never materialized before he was offloaded to Baltimore before the start of the 2006 season. Corey did have a decent season for Baltimore, following a horrendous season for the Cubs, but it has yet to match the hype that came before we saw Corey play his first game in the majors. Many may not realize that Corey’s brother Eric is making his way through the Cubs Minor League system and could be seen in Wrigley as early as 2008. I think most Cubs fans realize that we still have Eric Patterson in our Minor League system but not much is heard about him because of the Cubs top prospect right now, Felix Pie. Pie is deflecting a lot of the hype that would probably be coming Eric’s way but that might be a good thing. Some players can handle the hype and some cannot. When fans expect greatness, they aren’t always patient when it doesn’t come. That may have happened with Corey because they lost patience with Corey during the 2005 season.
Brother Eric has the same potential of his brother but because he isn’t considered the best prospect at this point he is able to concentrate on baseball without hearing how great he is supposed to be. You should start hearing more about him because he should start 2007 at AAA-Iowa and after a season there could be ready for the big club in 2008. If you look at the stats of Eric and compare them to Corey, they are very similar. Eric might lack some of the power of Corey but he might have better speed.
The one difference that might pay dividends is that of expectations. Eric could make his way to the big club with few people expecting his arrival and that should put less stress on Eric to perform. He is working very hard to improve much as his brother did. He most recently played in the Arizona Fall League and played well. He finished with a .345 average with 113 AB’s and an OBP of .408. He didn’t display much power, finishing with only one home run but did display the speed with 15 stolen bases. One area of concern seems to be facing left-handed pitchers. During the fall league he batted nearly 200 points lower vs. left handed pitching compared to right handed pitchers, .234 vs. .424. Left handed pitching has also been a weakness of Corey so I hope they can work things out with Eric.
Speculation on Minor League players is never a perfect science but I think Eric Patterson will be a star in the big leagues. He might make it up with the Cubs or he might be traded before he gets there but either way he should be good. I think he will be better than Corey yet I think Corey has yet to prove what he can do. Eric should start at Iowa in 2007 but it will depend on how this off-season plays out. If he is able to start in Iowa next year, it is only one step away from Chicago and if he continues to shine more attention will come his way along with a full time job with the big team.
For more views about the Cubs from Thomas, go to www.cubsfanhell.com.