Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

javier baez defenseAfter watching the Cubs game with me on Sunday, both kids were pretty eager to go outside and play baseball, which was pretty awesome. We have a little t-ball set, which is fine, and The Little Girl often likes batting with a plastic bowling pin … but I’m perusing various Cubs bats, balls, and gloves on Amazon to see if we can upgrade. It’s funny to think about how I am, right now, living the very thing in my personal life that I think about so often professionally: how will baseball ensure its long-term future by getting more kids into the sport. It can’t always count on parents to get their kids into the game (especially when the median fan age is something like 53). I’m doing my part, though, I suppose.

Obligatory with mention of Amazon: you should shop at Amazon because it is convenient, comprehensive, and well-priced. If you do shop at Amazon, you should (please) always use links here at BN when you go, because then it supports BN in the process without you having to do anything different or pay anything extra. There’s always a link at the top of the page, or you can even use that link as your Amazon bookmark. Thanks.

  • Last night, with a couple singles, Javier Baez extended his hitting streak at AAA Iowa to 12 games. His line at Iowa is up to .317/.382/.534, with a strikeout rate comfortably under 25%. He’ll be up with the big team in time, and will likely contribute at a variety of spots. He’s been playing more third base lately – recall, he was learning the position earlier this year before his finger injury, and he looked like he was on the verge of a call-up – which could signal that he’ll chip in there at the big league level, with Kris Bryant shifting to the outfield at times (given that Jorge Soler is out). The guys that getting bumped in that scenario are two of Starlin Castro, Tommy La Stella, and Chris Coghlan, but it probably would look more rotational and match-up-y than that. The Cubs would have the luxury of overloading with righties against lefties, or sitting both Castro and Baez against tough righties. (And, Baez can also play second base and shortstop – probably the outfield, too, in a pinch. He’s just got so much potential to be a really valuable complementary piece down the stretch.)

  • On Baez, you’re absolutely going to want to read this ESPN profile, which goes so deep on a young man you may not know very well. He’s been through so much, and to have come out where he is – showing the character he shows – this is a young man you can’t not root for. Then you factor in the baseball upside. Man. This is a guy I just want to see do well with the Cubs in the coming years.
  • More on Kyle Hendricks and his mechanical adjustments here at CSN. Although the line last night didn’t look great, Hendricks didn’t pitch all that poorly, especially when you consider that he probably gives up a run or two fewer with average defense behind him. Addison Russell gaffed on a play he normally makes in the first, Chris Denorfia couldn’t track down or even block a ball that became a triple, and Chris Coghlan took a bad route on a run-scoring double. That’s at least two runs right there.
  • Here’s a great read from Sahadev Sharma on the continued adjustments Kris Bryant is making at the plate. It is absolutely remarkable to me how much he’s had to adjust this year because of how quickly pitchers change up how they attack him, desperately trying to find and exploit holes because of how dangerous he is. AND HE’S A 23-YEAR-OLD ROOKIE WITH ALMOST NO PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE. All year, he’s been treated like an MVP candidate by pitchers, and, in the fullness of time, he’s continued to adjust and succeed. Bryant was billed as an otherworldly talent at the plate from day one, and he’s lived up to it in my book.

  • If you missed it yesterday, dropped its price to $9.99 for the rest of the year.
  • Scoreboard Watching earlier today, as well as Michael on Willson Contreras.

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