Kris Bryant, Javy Baez, and the Optimal Defensive Alignment and Other Bullets

Social Navigation

Kris Bryant, Javy Baez, and the Optimal Defensive Alignment and Other Bullets

Analysis and Commentary, Chicago Cubs News, MLB News and Rumors

javier baez cubs gloveHow’s this for something fun: in three of the other five divisions in baseball, the distance between first place and last place is smaller than the distance between the Cubs and the second place Pirates (8.0 games). And in the two divisions for which the last place team is further back than 8.0 games, it’s really only because the Braves (7-23) and Twins (8-23) are so abysmally bad.

Also, isn’t it neat to see that the Cubs have fewer losses than the two “abysmally bad” teams have win? The Cubs are even more insanely good than those teams are insanely bad.

  • As we’ve surmised, when defense on the left side is the order of the day, Joe Maddon suggested (though didn’t outright say) to CSN that his preference is to have Javier Baez at third base and Kris Bryant in left field. Bryant has become very good defensively at third base, but Baez seems to be legitimately elite there. And, in left field, if the other option is Jorge Soler (setting aside the offensive discussion), Bryant is a huge upgrade defensively.
  • Maddon also mentioned to CSN having Tommy La Stella at third base, together with Baez, “a little more often,” but said he wants to still get starts in left field for Jorge Soler, which is when Bryant would start at third. It remains a complicated situation, with a desire to tap into Soler’s upside long-term conflicting with the desire to win that day’s game. For his part, Soler could seemingly explode into an offensive force at any time, but it’s hard to give him the regular starts necessary to make that happen when Baez is contributing so well in all phases of the game and La Stella is raking. And, when Matt Szczur is ready to return from his hamstring injury, it’s going to get even more complicated, because not only was he performing exceedingly well to start the season, but he’s also a defensive plus and has at least some upside, himself.
  • A fun, but also somewhat-informative read from Jeff Sullivan on how the Cubs approached Bryce Harper this weekend, with a look at every single plate appearance.
  • Speaking of Harper, he’s staying in the news after being ejected in the 9th inning last night from the dugout – he’d taken issue with the home plate umpire – and then offering a highly-visible “f**k you” to the umpire when he came out to celebrate Clint Robinson’s ensuing walk-off home run. Harper later said he’ll pay the fine that will undoubtedly follow, but it’s not quite clear from the video of his post-game comments whether he was saying he was right to say what he said (as the account indicates), whether he was saying he was not right to say it (as I hear it, though the rest of his comments would make that confusing), or whether he was saying the umpire was not right to eject him (as the Washington Post account indicates). I’m all about Harper’s talent and quest to Make Baseball Fun Again, but I’m not so sure about this one. Saying something you regret in the heat of the moment, I think I can get past that. But I’d be curious to know, specifically, what he thinks about it now that he’s cooled down.
  • Joe Maddon had dinner with Mike Ditka.
  • Dan Vogelbach went deep twice for the Iowa Cubs.
  • Maybe I’m a noob, but I’ve never seen an umbrella like this, with all the positions and the shape and the clamping ability. I’m usually the chump with the little travel umbrella trying to battle the wind. Seems like that multi-use one could come in handy a whole lot, and it’s on a 43% off sale at Amazon right now, too.
  • Baseball is fun, and also does not subscribe to your theories about physics:

  • The rain, man. The rain:

  • Also, a clarification on what Harper really said:


Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.