Because of the schedule and family travels, and because I spent much of yesterday doing behind the scenes work (discussed in the Bullets this morning, if you missed it), I didn’t have the opportunity to note just how strong Tommy La Stella’s game on Sunday was.
Filling for Dexter Fowler in the leadoff spot, La Stella did his best Fowler impression, notching three extra-base hits, including his first homer of the year.
Nicknamed “3 a.m.” by a combination of Joe Maddon and Jesse Rogers (the former said that La Stella could roll out of bed at 3 a.m. and hit, and the latter ran with it as a nickname), La Stella showed off that preternatural ability to simply hit. The guy hadn’t started in four days, and had had just one pinch hit appearance in between starts (registering a hit, naturally). He gets a start, and he does this:
He also had two doubles on the day, each coming with two strikes. Impressive performance all around.
Although La Stella doesn’t have quite the same hype as the Cubs’ other young positional players, the guy has always been able to hit the ball. Whether he’d do so with enough power, or would play well enough defensively at second base (or, now, third base), has been the question.
Now, with the talent-loaded Cubs, the reality is that it would probably take an injury or two for him to get a shot at starting regularly. Sometimes that happens, and it’s great to have him in the fold in case of emergency. He might actually do really well. For now, he’ll be one of the Cubs’ bench bats and spot starters, though.
And, hopefully, if he keeps hitting like he has since joining the Cubs (.292/.340/.461, 115 wRC+ in 98 plate appearances from 2015-16), he’ll net some of those spot starts throughout the season, allowing the Cubs’ regulars to be all the more refreshed – and the team’s performance to be none the worse for the wear.