David Patton a possible sleeper for the bullpen?
Mistakes get made all the time, and I have to admit that I may have made one. When I was looking through the names of potential pitchers that could break camp in the bullpen, I listed off all of the names that I thought stood the best chance of making the team. I mentioned the names of the locks to make the bullpen, as well as the names of those who were most likely to make the squad outside of the locks. As it stands, Carlos Marmol, Kevin Gregg, Neal Cotts, Chad Gaudin, Luis Vizcaino, Angel Guzman or Jeff Samardzija and Aaron Heilman or Sean Marshall are the most likely candidates to fill in all of the bullpen roles. However there is a name that I forgot to mention. The man I am talking about is David Patton, the man the Chicago Cubs acquired in the Rule 5 Draft.
Patton was formally a member of the Colorado Rockies, and was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds who then sold his rights to the Cubs. By rules when you acquire a pitcher in the Rule 5 Draft, he has to remain on your 25 man roster the entire year following his drafting. Considering that Patton has not pitched above Class A, you would think that he is a long shot at best to make the bullpen out of camp, and would then be sold back to the Rockies. While his numbers in Class A were good, jumping from A-Ball to the Majors is a gigantic leap for anyone to make. For the record, last year he went 4-5 with a 3.54 Earned Run Average while striking out 87 batters over his 73.2 innings.
Why am I talking about him being a possibility to crack camp now, instead of before? Simply put, I over looked him, and forgot that he was a Rule 5 Draft pick. On top of that, his stats this spring caught my eye. In 5.2 innings pitched, Patton has a 1.69 ERA and has notched six strike out while not issuing a single base on balls. On top of his good spring, both Vizcaino and Guzman are both putting on less then stellar performances this spring. The Cubs have an investment with all three men that they could lose if they do not make the club. Guzman is out of options, so he would have to clear waivers in order to be sent back to the minor leagues, and that is if he would accept another minor league assignment. He may be given his outright release by the Cubs if he does not make the squad. When it comes to Vizcaino, if he doesnít make the squad, the Cubs would have to eat a couple million dollars in order to give him his release. Also, releasing him would make the trade of Jason Marquis look even worse. With Patton, as I stated, the Cubs would have to offer him back to the Rockies for some cash considerations if he is not on the 25 man roster for the entire 2009 season.
Donít get me wrong, I am not saying that he will make the team, nor am I saying that he is a front runner. All I am saying, is that he is getting some attention from the coaches and some fans. He may very well head north with the team.