Extreme Versatility and Fun With Cubs Lineups and Other Bullets

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Extreme Versatility and Fun With Cubs Lineups and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

joe maddon speaksMy brief trip to Arizona ends this evening, but not before another swing out to the park to hopefully see some more praction (that’s what I call practice action (actually, I don’t “call” it that, I just came up with it right now as I typed (I like it (I like parentheticals)))).

Hopefully I’ll get some more videos and pictures and all that good stuff.

  • Joe Maddon remains a fan of keeping players versatile, not only because of the value it adds to the team, but also because of the “Little League” mindset it helps keep the players in (CSN). When players aren’t able to constantly focus on the same, specific thing – usually, how they’re hitting at the moment – it keeps them looser and better able to help the team win in a variety of ways. We’ll call it another value of versatility. Kris Bryant even says in that CSN piece that he wants to still play in the outfield from time to time and move around in the batting order because it prevents the complacency associated with always knowing you’re playing the same spot and batting in the same spot. It keeps the game more fun.
  • I love all of that. As a practical matter, of course, Maddon will have to use guys in their usual spots most of the time, because “usual” spots develop for a reason. That said, it’s pretty fun to think about the crazy defensive lineups Maddon could come up with, and they’d be perfectly reasonable. For example, in theory, every single Cubs starter except Anthony Rizzo could play “out of position” and, on an individual by individual basis, none of it would be too weird. For one example: Rizzo at first, Addison Russell at second, Javy Baez at short, Ben Zobrist at third, Jorge Soler in left, Kris Bryant in center, Jason Heyward in right, and Kyle Schwarber catching. Move guys around, swap in Chris Coghlan and Miguel Montero, and you can shake it all up again. And again. Someone out there could probably have a lot of fun coming up with every single “reasonable” combination of defensive lineups for the Cubs, and my guess is that it’s over 100.
  • A profile on Cubs hitting coach John Mallee, who was very much in the background last year as a number of Cubs bats broke out. I wonder if we’re going to see even more development from the Cubs’ bats in 2016 as Mallee’s approach and work with them really starts to take hold.
  • The Red Sox are going to deemphasize the importance of statistical analysis, according to owner John Henry (Boston Globe). It’s interesting to hear, since that’s not usually the direction you see organizations going these days, but maybe it’s not all that crazy – after all, it would be possible to go too far into analytics and away from traditional scouting. Maybe Henry feels the Red Sox went too far, and it was time to swing the pendulum back the other way, hence bringing in new president Dave Dombrowski.

Author: Brett Taylor

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