White Sox Sign Eric Patterson

As we near the end of January, baseball is in the air. It may still be cold here in Charlotte, but one thing is for sure, Spring Training is just two weeks away!

Recently, the White Sox signed a number of free agents to Minor League contracts and invited 21 players to camp as non-roster invitees. Over the next two weeks, I’ll take a look at each of those players as we near the day that pitchers and catchers report (February 15).

Eric PattersonSigned to a Minor League contract by Chicago on January 10.patterson

Patterson, 30, was originally drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 8th round of the 2004 draft. In his first professional season (2005), Patterson excelled at the plate. The Florida born infielder/outfielder combined to hit .325 with 13 HRs, 11 triples, 73 RBIs, and a remarkable 43 stolen bases in 119 games (Single-A Peoria and Double-A West Tennessee). He played in just nine games in Double-A (110 with Peoria), but was more than ready to return to Double-A in 2006.

For his efforts in 2005, Patterson was named the MVP of the Peoria Chiefs and was named the Cubs Position Player of the Year.

In 2006, Patterson hit .263 with eight home runs, 48 RBIs, and 38 stolen bases over 121 games with Double-A West Tennessee. That same season, Patterson played in the Futures Game in Pittsburgh.

Before the season was over, he appeared in 17 games for Triple-A Iowa and hit .358 with two home runs, 12 RBIs, and eight stolen bases.

Heading into the 2007 season, Patterson — the son of former NFL defensive back Don Patterson — was ranked by Baseball America as the sixth-best prospect in the Cubs system. The talented youngster didn’t disappoint in 2007.

In 128 games for  the Iowa Cubs in 2007, the Harrison High School (Kennesaw, GA) product hit .297 with 14 home runs, 65 RBIs, and 24 stolen bases. He earned his first promotion to the Majors that season and ripped his first Major League hit on August 7 off of Houston’s Woody Williams. He appeared in seven games that season for the Cubs. Patterson earned a spot on the Pacific Coast League All-Star team in 2007.

A year later, Patterson played in just 13 games for the Cubs and was traded on July 8 with Josh Donaldson, Sean Gallagher, and Matt Murton to Oakland for Chad Gaudin and Rich Harden.

Patterson — who is the brother of former Major League outfielder Corey Patterson — spent parts of three seasons with the Oakland A’s (2008-10) and hit .221 with 20 stolen bases over 114 games combined. On June 26, 2010, he was dealt to the Boston Red Sox for Minor Leaguer Fabian Williamson.

Six months later, Patterson was dealt again. This time, he was a player to be named later in a trade for slugger Adrian Gonzalez. On December 6, 2010, the Red Sox dealt Casey Kelly, Anthony Rizzo, Reymond Feuntes, and a player to be named later to the San Diego Padres for Gonzalez. 10 days later (December 16) Patterson was that player to be named later.

Patterson spent most of the next three seasons (2011-13) in the Minors. After one season in the Padres system (2011), he was released by the team on December 9, 2011.  He appeared in 64 games for the Toledo Mud Hens in 2012 and hit .244 with two HRs with 23 RBIs, and 13 stolen bases. In eight games against the Knights in 2012, he hit .286 with two runs scored, two doubles, and a triple. He was released by Detroit on June 12.

Last season, Patterson played for the Independent York Revolution and hit .275 with 13 home runs and 38 RBIs in 62 games. In July, he signed a contract with the Milwaukee Brewers and played 38 games for Double-A Huntsville. He hit .204 in 38 games and was released in September.

Now, Patterson, 30, will look to work his way back to the Majors and will do so in the White Sox organization. The nine-year Minor League veteran owns an impressive .291 batting average with 64 home runs, 344 RBIs, and 197 stolen bases (731 games). A versatile player in the field, Patterson has played mostly second base, but has also played every infield and outfield position. Stay tuned for more on Patterson and other free agent signings as the 2014 season nears.

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