More Career HRs: Ian Stewart, or Josh Vitters?

First, some reaction to the trade, which I predicted on Nov. 29:

The deal made too much sense not to do. Classic "change of scenery" deal. That said, I think Ian Stewart is much better at baseball than Colvin. Ian Stewart's career walk rate in 1,148 plate appearances is 10.3%; Colvin's is 7.2% in 637 PAs, including a 6.3% last year. Stewart is basically Colvin's equal in terms of power and whiffs — .200ish ISO, 25%+ K-rate — but appears to have a much better eye.

Stewart also plays third base. And I don't care how much you like DJ LeMahieu's bat, but that kid does not appear to be a future 3B based on his lack of power. So the job is Stewart's to lose, until a) the Cubs acquire someone else, or b) a younger player like Josh Vitters is ready to go.

And there he is: probably the most controversial prospect in the Cubs system, Mr. JV himself. Some scouts continue to like Vitters' swing, and think he'll tack on power (he's only 22, and did hit 14 HRs in AA last season). Others deride his lackadaisical approach on defense, and doubt he'll stick at 3B. Everyone agrees he swings at too many pitchers' pitches. As for me, I think he's too young to write off just yet.

And what about the Twitters? I asked my Tweeps to rank the following four players in terms of total home runs by the end of their MLB careers: Ian Stewart (26 years old, 54 HR so far), Tyler Colvin (26 and 26), Josh Vitters (22 and 0), and Starlin Castro (21 and 13).

To me it seems obvious that Castro is the favorite to win this race; he's a 21-year-old All-Star, for goodness' sake. But a couple of folks put Stewart ahead of him, which I find interesting.

Most people then put Vitters third or fourth — except for one guy, who ranked him first!, and, surprise, loves his swing.

I think that just about sums up the book on Josh, doesn't it?

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