David Ross's Role, Jason Heyward's Work, Peak Shifting, and Other Bullets

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David Ross’s Role, Jason Heyward’s Work, Peak Shifting, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs News

Because various members of our family will be unavailable for actual Thanksgiving, we’re instead celebrating Thanksgiving with family today. For that, I am very thankful. I am going to eat so very much food, and I am thankful for that, as well.

  • Given everything else he did this year – dancing, Globe-trotting, sky-diving, broadcasting, writing a book, etc. – it was easy to forget that David Ross actually did join the Cubs’ front office in January in a special assistant role. Between those commitments (hey, man, enjoy yourself) and time with the family (hey, man, enjoy yourself), there wasn’t a whole lot of time with the Cubs. The expectation, though, is that will change in 2018. Jed Hoyer told Patrick Mooney that Ross will get more involved each year and could jump in with both feet soon, but will be doing a little more family time first, having just had a very busy year. It remains to be seen if Ross’s longer term aspirations will be in the front office or the dugout (or the broadcast booth), but it has become increasingly common for future managers to first work in some kind of front office or player development role before shifting into minor league or Major League coaching (or directly into managing, in some cases).
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
  • This is fine, because Puig was really awesome defensively this year, but I could make a pretty reasonable argument that Jason Heyward did as much as Puig in less time:

  • Again, it’s fine. Heyward got the Gold Glove. And speaking of Heyward, the questions will always be about his bat, and not his glove. For what it’s worth, Hoyer mentioned this week when he was on ESPN 1000 that Heyward is already out in Arizona (he got a place there last year to work throughout the offseason at the Cubs’ facilities in Mesa, as you may recall), and will soon meet up with new Cubs hitting coach Chili Davis. (Please, Chili. Please.)
  • Love and respect:

  • The international scandal that cost the Braves a couple top members of their front office will still play out for a while longer:

  • The data suggests we’ve reached “peak shift” in baseball, with teams shifting less in 2017 than they did in 2016 (something that hasn’t happened since the advent of extreme shifting). The Cubs, by the way, were again one of the *LEAST* shifting teams in baseball, despite the fact that Joe Maddon is credited with bringing extreme shifting into vogue. Of course, the point of extreme shifting in the first place was about getting a defensive advantage, so it would only make sense that the Cubs begin to zig as everyone else is zagging.
  • Of course, looking at this, I remembered that the Cubs didn’t totally abandon doing some crazy shifts this year:

  • And actually, that shift there speaks to why shifting has finally slowed down: to counteract it, the best hitters have started hitting the ball in the air more often, particularly the other way. So, you might actually find more success with this kind of alignment instead of a more typical extreme shift (with the third baseman moving into a deep hole at second base).
  • Jose Altuve rocks:

  • You are reminded that the big Fanatics sale ends tonight:


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.