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Cubs Prospect Perspective: Cole Roederer

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A look at realistic expectations for a prospect.

Cole Roederer batting for South Bend in 2019
Clinton Cole

One of the things that is underplayed regarding prospects is setting realistic expectations, based on what is already known or presumed. This is often underplayed, because people familiar with the player might want to throw in a comp of a MLB similar, and that might be taken as an over/under. Preps, especially, have years before comps make sense. Here is my look at Cole Roederer.

Cole Roederer, outfield

Born September 25, 1999, Newhall, California
Drafted as a second-round compensation pick in 2018 by the Cubs (for the loss of Jake Arrieta) out of William Hart High School in Santa Clarita, California

Roederer was chosen just before right-handed pitcher Paul Richan, who was dealt to the Tigers (with Alex Lange) for Nick Castellanos. At the time of his selection by the Cubs, Roederer's defense was considered more sturdy than his offense. He has missed time in 2019, 2020, and 2021 due to injury or the minor-league season being cancelled. Which hasn't helped.

He's managed barely 450 at-bats between the three seasons. I recently saw someone refer to his 2021 injury as Tommy John surgery, which might well be accurate. It would explain his extended absence.

Hitting pro pitching is difficult, and generally gets harder at each level. Where Roederer starts 2022 will be determined in spring training. While his prospect luster is somewhat damaged, I'll avoid the banal "now or never" trope. His health and development will determine that, not my keyboard.

If Roederer's arm is fine, so is his defense. The assessment from early-on still holds, and any MLB comp was still useless. If you don't care about developing players, you still shouldn't, regardless the comp. If they're why you roll out of bed, a comp shouldn't limit your homework. Roederer would benefit from his first healthy pro season, but health should always be a basic wish.