Hoping for Offense from Defensive Stars and Other Bullets

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Hoping for Offense from Defensive Stars and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Today’s gonna be an odd one, I’d expect.

From where I sit, today can be a whole lot like yesterday in your daily life. The interactions you have with the people around you. The way you treat your family. The things you choose to do with your time.

I’m certainly not going to tell you what to feel, do, or be. I am simply going to carry on with my day, as I would any other day. And if you want to read about baseball and the Cubs, this place will be here, continuing to do its thing …

  • Jeff Sullivan offers an interesting question to Cubs fans: who will be the better hitter in 2017, Addison Russell or Jason Heyward? Maybe the answer seems obvious to you, but both ZiPS and Steamer project Heyward to be the better hitter in 2017: .323 wOBA for Heyward by ZiPS and .332 by Steamer, .318 and .317 for Russell. The projection difference presumably is based on Heyward’s long track record of success before 2016. We expect Russell to take another step forward in 2017, however, so even if there’s a healthy bounce-back from Heyward, it’s fair to believe Russell will be the better bat. If you’re curious about this, read more from Sullivan, and vote in his poll. (Though, knowing Cubs fans as I believe I do, Russell’s going to win that thing in an epic landslide, projection systems and track records be damned.)
  • As an aside, I found the exercise especially fun because we’re talking about two of the very best defenders in all of baseball. While I wouldn’t go so far as to say whatever offense they provide is merely gravy (especially from a right fielder), I will say that the Cubs can get a ton of real, impact value from these guys even if they are merely league average hitters. And if they both are, say, 10% better than league average next year on offense (a 110 wRC+ would be a 15 point bump for Russell from 2017, and obviously a HUGE bump for Heyward (but it’s still lower than his career mark)), then the Cubs’ offense is going to be an absolute juggernaut of the highest juggernaut order.
  • Sahadev Sharma writes about Joe Maddon’s “cool” factor, which is actually of some meaningful value. Being a “cool” dude allows Maddon to better connect with his players, put them at east, get their buy-in, etc. It’s not something you can manufacture, either, especially because you still have to be very good at the actual baseball-managerial stuff in order to succeed.
  • Ryan Davis spoke with Cubs farm director Jaron Madison about Ian Happ, who will start the year back at AA Tennessee, and will primarily be playing second base (though the Cubs want to get him some more time in the outfield, too). The hope is that the bat dictates an in-season promotion to AAA Iowa.
  • Earlier today I wrote about Javy Baez, and the non-fit of a trade with the Dodgers.
  • Get hyped (and then get a little sad because this reminds you that ‘Game of Thrones’ is coming back later than usual this year):

  • I would make a joke here, but they actually do have a good reason (Canada-related) for doing it:

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.