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Remembering Corey Patterson’s Bright Spot

Have you ever had one of those occasions where a trip down memory lane leads to acquiring a new piece of information? As you can guess, that is exactly what happened to me yesterday. While sifting through the bargain bin — also known as the minor league free agent list — the name Corey Patterson appeared. Memories of Patterson’s 2003 season. A season in which Patterson hit 13 home runs (he hit 14 in nearly 300 additional plate appearances the year prior), stole 16 bases (18 in 2002), and saw his ISO jump from the low-to-mid .100s all the way to .213 ended prematurely thanks to a knee injury.

Anyhow, curiosity got the best of me and I searched for his page on this very site. What I found was a bit surprising. In my mind Patterson has always been a solid defender. The scouting reports and UZR figures back it up; however, the degree to which he once scored is pretty impressive. Franklin Gutierrez produced one of the finest defensive seasons our UZR data has ever seen this year with a 29.1 score. In 2004, Patterson’s UZR was 24.6 while exclusively playing center.

Truth be told, Patterson has rated pretty well since that season too, but he’s never received as much playing time as he did then. His UZR/150s over the following three seasons were 11.3, 14.2, and 1.0. 2008 sat at 0.7 and 2009 has far, far too small of a sample size to say anything worthwhile. This is all from playing center. Patteron’s bat is lackluster. He doesn’t walk or hit for much power. He could be of some use as a pinch runner and defensive replacement for some National League team, though.

Frankly, I’m just disappointed I didn’t discover this earlier. When I attended a mid-June Nationals/Rays game I thought to myself that Patterson – then playing right – should’ve been in center instead of Elijah Dukes. Such is life.