Josh Vitters, we hardly knew you.
Matt Eddy of Baseball America, announced the news earlier that Vitters has signed a minor league deal with the Colorado Rockies.
The Chicago Cubs signed the 25-year-old third baseman in 2007 after drafting him with the third overall pick of the June draft. He was heralded as one of the Cubs’ top prospects, including being touted as one of the most promising position prospects in all of baseball. Both Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus had him pegged as a top-50 MLB prospect up until 2010.
That season, the wheels began to come off for Vitters, whose contact issues became a regular concern in recent years. After batting .293/.323/.460 in 2009, his average fell off nearly 50 points in 2010 – as he posted a .248/.311/.404 triple-slash between the Arizona Fall League and the team’s High and Double-A affiliates.
He bounced back in a big way in 2011, spending time with Mesa in the Arizona Fall League and Double-A Tennessee, where he batted .283/.322/.448 with 14 home runs and 81 RBIs in just 129 games. He followed that up with a strong showing at Triple-A Iowa, launching 17 long-balls and batting .304/.356/.513 in 110 games, finally earning him the long-awaited call.
That call, however, did not go as well as Vitters – or the Cubs – had hoped.
Simply put, the results were disastrous. Vitters managed only a putrid .121 batting average in 109 plate appearances with a deplorable .193 on-base percentage. To say he was not ready would have been an insult to understatements. Vitters was never able to get back to the Majors with the Cubs after his abysmal showing. Last year, back with the Iowa Cubs, he batted just .213 with a .268 on-base percentage.
Still just 25 years old and with no high expectations weighing on his shoulders, Vitters will likely have a shot at reviving his baseball career in Spring Training with the Rockies, but he appears to be a long-shot to make the Major League club.