- Full name Eric Scott Patterson
- Born 04/08/1983 in Tallahassee, FL
- Profile Ht.: 6'0" / Wt.: 170 / Bats: L / Throws: R
- School Georgia Tech
- Debut 08/06/2007
Drafted in the 8th round (246th overall) by the Chicago Cubs in 2004 (signed for $300,000).
View Draft ReportThe younger brother of Cubs outfielder Corey Patterson, Eric has had a roller-coaster college career. He helped Tech to the 2002 College World Series in an All-Freshman season, when he hit .346 with 41 stolen bases. He slumped to .274 as a sophomore as he changed his approach, adopting a pigeon-toed stance and diving into balls at the plate in an attempt to replicate his brother's power. After struggling with Team USA last summer (he led the team in strikeouts), Patterson again started slowly this season before adjusting his approach. A 60 runner on the 20-80 scale who consistently gets to first base in 4.0-4.1 seconds, Patterson still doesn't trust his hands to produce his power, so he strikes out too much, hits too many fly balls and flies open trying to pull the ball. He has made more consistent contact since getting rid of his toe tap. Clubs that think he can adjust will get a good runner, average defensive second baseman and potential leadoff threat.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Patterson entered 2007 as the Cubs' second baseman of the future but now looks more like a utilityman. Mark DeRosa and Mike Fontenot shared Chicago's second-base job during the season, and though Patterson earned Pacific Coast League all-star recognition, the Cubs looked outside for additional options during the offseason. He got his first taste of the big leagues in August, and when he returned for a September callup, he lasted just two days before arriving late at the ballpark. Because he did the same thing at Iowa, the Cubs made a point to him by demoting him to Double-A. Patterson's tools are similar to but not as good as those of his older brother Corey. Eric's best tool is his plus speed and he has surprising pop for his size, though sometimes it is too much for his own good. While he'd be better off focusing on getting on base, he can get caught up in trying to hit for power. Despite his athleticism, Patterson never has gotten the hang of playing second base. He doesn't read balls well off the bat or range well to his right. He began seeing time in left and center field in May and played there exclusively in August. He has solid center-field range but a below-average arm for the outfield. He doesn't have the arm to play shortstop, third base or right field, so he's somewhat limited as a utilityman. Patterson figures to return to Triple-A at the outset of 2008, and he could be most useful to Chicago as a trade chip.
His older brother Corey may have played his way out of Chicago, but Eric is firmly in the club's plans. An eighth-round pick who signed for fourth-round money ($300,000) in 2004, he won the low Class A Midwest League batting title in his first pro season and reached Triple-A in his second. He led the Arizona Fall League with 15 steals and batted .345. Manager rated him the best baserunner in the Southern League last year, as Patterson has plus speed and good instincts. He hits for a solid average and has surprising pop for his size. Scouts see him as a less explosive version of Delino DeShields. There are a lot of questions about whether Patterson can play second base in the major leagues. He has made improvements but still has a long way to go. He relies on his speed rather than reading balls off the bat, and he doesn't have great range to his right. His plate discipline is just fair and he sometimes gets caught up in trying to hitting homers, compromising his ability to get on base and use his speed. Though he'll remain at second base for now, Patterson spent some time in center field during instructional league and could become a super utilityman along the lines of Chone Figgins or Ryan Freel. The free-agent signing of Mark DeRosa will buy Patterson at least a half-season in Triple-A, but he's still the Cubs' second baseman of the future.
Patterson may seize the Cubs' leadoff job that his brother Corey has failed to fill. An eighth-round pick who signed for fourth-round money ($300,000), Patterson won the Midwest League batting title and the Cubs' minor league player of the year award in his pro debut. Patterson isn't as strong or as fast as his brother Corey, but he still stands out in both areas. He has 65 speed on the 20-80 scouting scale and surprising pop for his size. Unlike Corey, Eric isn't allergic to walks. He should become an average defender at second base. Patterson can have too much power for his own good, as he sometimes worries too much about homers at the expense of getting on base. He'd be better off shortening his stroke. He's still rough at second base, where he can look stiff and needs to continue to clean up his double-play pivot. Patterson will return to Double-A, where he spent the last week of his first pro season. He has passed Mike Fontentot and Richard Lewis on the organization depth chart and could be starting for the Cubs at some point in 2007.
Reed wasn't the only Cubs 2004 draft pick with good bloodlines. If all goes well, Chicago one day could have two Patterson brothers batting atop its order. Eric earned all-Atlantic Coast Conference honors in each of his three years at Georgia Tech, where his older brother Corey committed before the Cubs took him third overall in the 1998 draft. Their father Don played defensive back for the Yellow Jackets and in the NFL. As with his brother, speed is Eric's best tool, though Eric's grades as a 65 on the 20-80 scouting scale, compared to Corey's 80. Eric, who has good instincts on the bases, led the ACC with 48 steals in 55 attempts last spring. The key to his game is his approach at the plate. He's not as strong as Corey but at times he gets too concerned with trying to match his power. Though Patterson made adjustments last spring to tone down his aggression, at times he'll get too patient and let hittable pitches go by. He just needs to focus on getting on base. His athleticism makes him a potential plus defender at second base. Patterson likely will make his pro debut in low Class A, with high Class A an outside possibility.
Minor League Top Prospects
With older brother Corey traded to the Orioles last offseason, there will be no Patterson brothers reunion in Chicago. But Eric is getting close to ready for Wrigley Field, recovering from a second-half slump to bat .358 following a mid-August promotion to Triple-A. Patterson's best tool is his speed, which rates as a 65-70 on the 20-80 scouting scale. He also has surprising power for his size, though he sometimes gets caught up too much in trying to hit homers. He has made strides in shortening his swing for a more gap-to-gap approach. Patterson's speed aids his range at second-base, though his first-step quickness and body control are a bit disappointing. His footwork around the bag is questionable, though he does have soft hands.
Coming from a premier college program at Georgia Tech, Patterson was more advanced than most players in the league and it showed. He led the MWL in hitting and stole 40 bases, though a lot of managers wondered why he was in low Class A to begin with and why he wasn't promoted at midseason. As with his teammate Gallagher, Patterson inspired a difference of opinions. Most managers thought he was a complete hitter with a good approach and surprising pop for his size. Most scouts, however, said his swing was a bit long and that he needed to focus more on selectivity and contact. Like his older brother Corey, who has underachieved for the Cubs, they thought Eric swung for the fences too often--a reputation that dogged him in college as well. Patterson has decent pop and good speed, but those tools aren't in the same class as Corey's. Despite his athleticism, he still has a lot of work to do at second base. He looks a little stiff, and his angles and double-play pivot need improvement.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Baserunner in the Southern League in 2006