...."with the 19th pick of the first round the Baltimore Orioles select Infielder Michael Eugene Fontenot"....
He was not exactly a throw-in in the Sammy Sosa deal but I can assure you that his inclusion was not what convinced Jim Hendry to pull the trigger on the deal that would finally say good bye to the one time hero and hello to the low key mystery named Michael Eugene Fontenot. In other words the idea was to get rid of Sosa at all costs and not to acquire Fontenot or the other two players that where included in the deal from Baltimore; 2B/OF Jerry Hairston, Jr. and RHP Dave Crouthers.[who the hell is Dave?]
When Mike Fontenot was called up initially to the MLB on April of 2005 I remember thinking to myself that for the first time in a lot of time the Chicago Cubs farm system was becoming weak. But no worries, the Cubs have plenty of money to spend and... We all expected at least a big name signing like Carlos Beltran or somebody in that neighborhood; after all, we were saving all that money with Sosa not around. Obviously that did not happen as we settled for the first sighting of the midget. The 5 foot dwarf that was by few expected to, compensate for the loss of Slamming' Sammy. He was named the Baltimore Orioles Minor League Player of the Year in 2003 if that helps. After a seven day less than stellar debut Fontenot was sent back to where he belonged...to the minors!
I guess that in 2006 there was no need to try to bring a questionable infielder to the big team since we had Neifi and he had already hit a GS against the Cardinals once plus team was doing just fine on the way to a record season ...so why fix something that was not broken right?
Fonty-yes! In 2007 I was thinking we were really weak with a bench that included Mike Fontenot as backup infielder. But tiny Mike quickly became big Mike after proving he could shine in the big stage with a red hot start. He almost single handedly carried the slumping team in June by hitting the cover out of the ball. There was also that notable Soriano/Lilly/Edgar Renteria incident that resulted in Fontenot's nose being hammered and taking it like a man. He did not remain hot the rest of the way as his playing time was reduced. He finished the season with a respectable .278 average for a part-time rookie and more important, he had become visible to all of us. In 2008 we all saw him become Mighty Mike and Little Babe Ruth at the same time, putting up HUGE numbers in every offensive category and all that done coming of the bench and with very little playing time!
So here we stand as the off-season heats up and we discuss trade scenarios and try to do the Cubs GM impression with suggestions and ideas that mostly make us faithful in this site get to opening day a little faster dreaming of a World Championship! That takes me back to the reason I started writing this; where does Mike Fontenot fit in this team? So I decided to go back to his minor league numbers and to try to find out what Mighty Mike did when he was just Mike that I did not see since I'm starting to believe what this guy has been trying to say all along... screaming "softly" with his stats through the minors and in 2 time shortened big league opportunities...I am good, unafraid and clutch and I'm used to the fact that I have to prove myself every day: [Just let me play].
He had a good minor league career with strong numbers but not stellar like those of Brian Roberts. He has had a consistent high career on base percentage of over 360 and in fact was able to equivalent that in the bigs. Furthermore, his home run numbers in 08' per plate appearance increased to the point that cannot be ignored anymore by scouts or general managers. His value is sky high as it will ever probably will be the same way he will likely end up being traded as a silent part of a package for another player for the 09 Cubs version. Before he goes though, our GM should know what I think I found in that makes him special and that gives him yet, more value.
Mighty Mike has PLENTY of what A-Rod lacks of. Little Babe Ruth has that THING that allows teams, gm's, and fans forget what a lousy and selfish guy like Manny Ramirez can be. Add those two up combine it with the fact that this Cub team has been swept two straight times in the post season and you will see what I mean and understand that this guy should play 2nd base for the 09' team. He is also our biggest trading chip even though he goes under the radar and teams could under value him.
By the way I am a midget myself so no pun intended! And feel free to disagree or say what you think!!!