Cubs Hope Vitters' Bat Does All the Talking

Josh Vitters didn't have a whole lot to say in his introductory conference call with reporters after becoming the Cubs' first-round draft pick of 2007 on Thursday. The Cubs are hoping his bat will do all of the talking for him.

"He's a real thinker and a sharp guy in the little bit that I've gotten to know him," Cubs Scouting Director Tim Wilken told "He's kind of quiet. But he's a steady player that goes out there and does his business. He carries a big stick so let's go, you know?"

Vitters batted .390 in 24 games for Cypress (Calif.) High School this past season, totaling nine home runs and 29 RBIs in 77 at-bats.

On Thursday, he became the third overall pick in the 2007 draft.

"I like his demeanor and the way he carries himself," said Wilken, in charge of his second draft with the Cubs since joining the organization in late 2005.

Vitters entered the draft with plenty of accolades to his credit. He was named the 2007 Gatorade Player of the Year in California, and was also named the top high school hitter in the '07 draft class by Baseball America.

"It's a dream come true for me," Vitters said after being drafted Thursday.

His family, meanwhile, had been down the road before; Josh Vitters' older brother, Christian, is an infield prospect in the Oakland Athletics' organization for Class A Kane County of the Midwest League.

Christian Vitters was drafted just last year, and Josh attributes some of his success as an amateur to Big Brother.

"We always played whiffleball in the front yard," he told reporters. "Along with my parents, he has played a big, huge role in my success."

Vitters' prep success will lead into his professional debut some time later this summer, likely at either Class Low A Boise of the short-season Northwest League or to Mesa, Ariz., and the Arizona Rookie League – once he and the Cubs officially come to terms on a contract, that is.

Chicago isn't sure exactly when that will be.

Because the Cubs were uncertain as to what Kansas City was going to do with the second overall pick in the draft, the team and Vitters had yet to break any serious ground on contract negotiations at the time Vitters was announced as Chicago's first pick.

"We barely had time to congratulate him," Wilken told reporters.

But the clock is already ticking faster than in previous years.

In light of Major League Baseball's most recent flavor-of-the-month Collective Bargaining Agreement, teams will have only until August 15 to sign drafted players unless that player was a college senior.

"I'm sure things will go well," Wilken said of the signing process. "I hope we can get Josh Vitters in a Cubs uniform, and hopefully in some time period, a major league uniform."

Vitters hopes it doesn't take long.

"I'd love to be signed quickly because I want to go out and start my career as soon as possible," he said.

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