With Jorge Soler out, Chris Coghlan has been getting most of his starts in right field. And, when the Cubs face a lefty, Coghlan’s platoon-mate out there has seemingly become Kris Bryant, which allows Joe Maddon to get another righty bat into the mix in the infield.
That was the setup last night in the second half of the doubleheader, with the Cubs facing J.A. Happ. Bryant looked pretty good in right field, as he often does (especially for a guy with so little pro experience out there), and made this great catch up against the wall on an Andrew McCutchen drive:
That’s a good job of tracking, and a great job of timing on the catch.
The extra righty bat in the infield belonged to Javier Baez, who started at third base, and showed off his exceptional defense:
That’s just a crazy difficult play, and, by the time the ball reaches Anthony Rizzo at first base, you wonder how Baez made the grab and throw look so smooth. Baez simply has incredible arm strength and fantastic instincts out there, making him a great third baseman, as we’ve already seen (and, again, that’s a new position for him, too). Of course, he could also be a great defensive second baseman or shortstop, too.
As we start peeking ahead to 2016 – only peeking, because there’s still plenty of baseball left this year – I think it’s fair to start to wonder whether this kind of alignment, in terms of total value, is going to be best for the Cubs. No, I’m not pushing anyone out the door just yet, and so much can happen in the offseason to change the equation. I’m simply saying that the Cubs are going to have a ton of options, which could include Baez as the starting third baseman and/or Bryant as a starting corner outfielder. Or maybe they rotate through multiple positions again next year. Or maybe something else. Options. So many options.