The Significant Advantages of Having Two Super Utility Men and Other Bullets

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The Significant Advantages of Having Two Super Utility Men and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

With The Littlest Girl being at home with me solo this week, I’ve had to get up at 5am to get in my exercise before The Wife and the big kids head out. On the one hand, I’m tired as all get out. On the other hand, it sure does set up your day really nicely to have the workout done and you already working by 6:30am. Maybe that sounds crazy, but – especially with help from Michael and Luis – that makes it all more likely that, when the kids and The Wife get home from school around 4pm, I can totally put work away for a few family hours without interruption. I’d rather not trade that time for an extra little bit of sleep.

… ask me if I still feel that way when I don’t *have* to get up that early to work out.

  • A very interesting read over at The Athletic from Sahadev Sharma on how the Cubs will figure out their time share for Javy Baez and Ben Zobrist, including this prediction chart:

  • What I like best about Sharma’s writeup, perhaps, is hearing straight from both Baez and Zobrist that they already know and expect that they’ll be moving around again next year. Keep in mind that Zobrist was originally brought in to be “the” second baseman, and that Baez started all 17 Cubs postseason games at second base. Each player would have a pretty strong claim to being the man at second base, and maybe even some understandable disappointment at still be utilized as a utility man. But, because of the types of players they are, because of the culture the Cubs have created, and because of the manager who pulls the strings, these guys are on board with staying flexible. That will only serve to benefit the Cubs. And it could benefit the players, too, by way of extra rest.
  • As for where each man will play next year, while I enjoyed Sharma’s chart – it’s the best anyone could put together right now – I don’t want to mislead anyone into thinking that injuries won’t muck up any best laid plans. Given how much you’d otherwise want to see both of these guys in the everyday lineup, and given their ability to play all over, an injury to virtually any other starter could open up a regular spot somewhere for Baez/Zobrist. That, of course, is an additional luxury of having two excellent super utility guys: not only can they move around to maximize match-ups, but they also provide a ton of starting-caliber cover if there’s a serious injury elsewhere.
  • There’s a ton more from the players themselves, as well as Joe Maddon, in Sharma’s piece.
  • And speaking of Zobrist, he homered twice off of Max Scherzer back in May, and I wrote about that game earlier today.
  • Jonah Keri breaks down the Dodgers, why they swapped Jose De Leon for Logan Forsythe, and how they resemble the 2016 Chicago Cubs. The Dodgers currently project to win 95 games in 2017, while the Cubs are at 94 (the next highest in the NL are the Nationals, at 90 wins). However you’d order them, it’s clear that the Cubs and Dodgers are, on paper, the top teams in the NL right now. Fitting, then, that they met in the NLCS last year – maybe they can do it again in 2017.
  • With Aledmys Diaz set to continue starting at shortstop for the Cardinals, he’ll need to improve defensively if the whole infield group is going to get better than they were last year (ESPN). Diaz posted a -4 DRS last year at shortstop, which is quite bad. It was sufficiently bad that, despite hitting a whopping .300/.369/.510 as a shortstop, he was worth just 2.7 WAR over his 460 plate appearances.
  • The most unpredictable player for each team in 2017, according to David Schoenfield. For the Cubs, obviously it’s Jason Heyward – the variance of his possible outcomes in 2017 is absolutely enormous (from a bounce-back at the plate, which could make him a near 6-win player(!), to continued offensive struggles so deep that he could become a mere periodic starter by the second half).
  • I had some fun last night making this – if you enjoy it, share it:

  • Michael makes jokes:

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.