Over the weekend, the Cubs awarded Ronny Cedeno an all-expenses-paid trip to Des Moines.
A year ago, coming off a 2005 season in which he hit .355/.403/.518 at Iowa, he opened the season as Dusty Baker’s starting shortstop.
The year before that, when he appeared to be the Starting Shortstop In Waiting, he was coming off a 2004 season at AA West Tennessee in which he hit .279 with 48 RBI in 116 games (384 ABs).
Since Cedeno was hitting just .097 (3-for-31) when he was sent down this past Sunday, and hit just .245/.271/.339, last year, the obvious question is, what caused Cedeno to lose it? But maybe the more apt question is, what took him so long to return to form?
Through most of his career in the Cub organization, Cedeno has been a terrible hitter.
After a dandy, 52-game debut in Rookie Ball in 2001, when he hit .350/.398/.466, Cedeno was moved up to Class A Lansing for 17 games at the end of the year,. He hit .196.
Cedeno split 2002 between Lansing and short-season Boise, hitting a combined .214/.270/.296.
He played all of the 2003 season at Daytona in the Florida State league and hit .211/.257/.295.
Somehow, Cedeno was promoted to West Tennessee for the 2004 season, where he put together the .279 season mentioned above. Still, as Baseball Prospectus 2005 pointed out, “This was the first season that Cedeno hit anything at all, and even so, his batting average at West Tennessee was pretty empty.” (.328 OBP, .401 SLG, 74 K/24 BB)
Then came the breakthrough ’05 season at Iowa and Cedeno seemed to have cracked the code. Still, as BP 2006 judged, “As a shortstop, there’s little he can’t do…Whether or not he’ll become a better hitter is the question. He has a nice, even swing, but he’s easily overpowered and has no notion of working the count.”
Smart guys, those Baseball Prospectus fellows.