25-Year-Old Outfielder – Free Agent
2015 Fantasy Baseball Outlook
Vitters' third stint with Triple-A Iowa was his worst, and it may be time to stick a fork in him. That's sad when you consider he's just 25, but 2014 was his eighth professional season and he managed ...
Josh Vitters Contract Information:
Vitters signed with the Cubs in August of 2007 for $3.2 million.
Vitters has been placed on the DL at Triple-A Iowa with a broken finger, MLB.com's Carrie Muskat reports.
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Josh Vitters: MLB Games Played By Position
Josh Vitters Split Stats (View Full Split Stats)
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Josh Vitters: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Various injuries limited Vitters to just 117 at-bats in the minors last year, but his star has been dimming for years and he is probably not even one of the top 10 prospects in the Cubs' system anymore, especially after his horrible stint with the Cubs in 2012 (his .395 OPS in 99 at-bats is not a misprint). Vitters is in the process of being converted into a left fielder, which will give him an easier path to the majors than he would have at the hot corner, but the one-time can't-miss star is on the verge of missing. This could be a make-or-break season.
After a .304/.356/.513 showing at Triple-A, Vitters had a horrendous go of it at the major league level, slashing .121/.193/.202 in 99 at-bats while playing suspect defense at third base. As a result, he'll likely open the year at Triple-A while Ian Stewart and Luis Valbuena battle for at-bats (barring the acquisition of a free-agent signee for the position). The third overall pick in 2007, Vitters has enough power, but his poor defense and plate discipline put his career at a crossroads. He's can't hit well enough to play first (and in any event would be blocked by Anthony Rizzo), so he'll have to learn to field his position better and/or reach base more consistently.
The third overall pick in 2007, Vitters showed growth as a 21-year-old at Double-A, posting a .283/.322/.448 line. He didn't draw a lot of walks, but he made better contact and hit for substantially more power than during his previous go-around. He also tore up the Arizona Fall League, hitting .360 with six doubles and four homers in 17 games. Vitters is still probably a year away from the majors at least, but with only the newly acquired Ian Stewart standing in his way, Vitters has a clear path to the job should he continue to develop.
The third overall pick in 2007, Vitters took a step back last year with a .223/.292/.383 line in 206 Double-A at-bats before breaking a finger in late July. He's still just 21 years old, and the power is real, but his poor plate discipline is likely to remain a problem even in the high minors. Expect Vitters to start the season at Double-A where he'll have to work on his batting eye or prove he can get by without it.
The third overall pick of the 2007 amateur draft, Vitters hit well as a 19-year-old (.316/.351/.535, 15 homers in 269 at-bats) at Low-A Peoria last year, though his plate discipline (7:42 BB:K) was still abysmal. He struggled in a 189 at-bat stint at High-A Daytona, but went .353/.380/.485 at the Arizona Fall League in 68 at-bats (though with a 2:11 BB:K there). The bottom line, Vitters is capable of hitting for power and average at the lower levels, but it remains to be seen whether he can improve his plate discipline or get by without it as he advances.
The third overall pick in the 2007 amateur draft, Vitters hit .328/.365/.498 in 61 games for Boise in the Northwest League, with 13 walks and 45 strikeouts in 259 at-bats as an 18-year-old last year and he should start 2009 in Low-A. Vitters has developing power, and he performed well in his second professional season. Of course, the plate discipline needs work, but Vitters will have plenty of time to work on that as he climbs through the system.
The third overall pick in the 2007 amateur draft, Vitters was overmatched in 51 low-minors at-bats, though the sample size is laughably small, and he didn't even turn 18 until August. The Cubs are still very high on him as he has power to all fields and is expected to hit for average. Vitters is still a few years away from contributing at the major league level.