David Bote Shows Up and Immediately Impacts the Cubs ... Again

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David Bote Shows Up and Immediately Impacts the Cubs … Again

Chicago Cubs

Yesterday, when news broke that Kris Bryant was heading to the disabled list, I was – like many of you – all the way bummed out about it. However, I can’t say I didn’t feel the tiniest bit of relief.

While almost no one in baseball can replace the production of a healthy Kris Bryant, the Cubs third baseman was clearly not 100%, which means even he wasn’t producing as much as a healthy Kris Bryant (and he’s headed for an MRI on his shoulder). And given that the Cubs have one of (if not) the deepest rosters on the positional side, it probably made sense to let him rest up while someone healthier gave it a go.

But when the Cubs announced that Javy Baez would also be out of the lineup for a second-straight day, I was a little more nervous. I shouldn’t have been.

Taking Kris Bryant’s place on the roster was the one and only David Bote, and he made an IMMEDIATE impact on both sides of the ball.

In the top of the second inning, Bote made an unbelievably awesome diving stop with the bases loaded and two outs, to end the inning, save at least two runs, and bail Tyler Chatwood out of some serious trouble. Later, of course, he hit a game-tying, two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning, which allowed Anthony Rizzo to walk it off with a monster shot in his 1,000th game!

Here’s a look back at both plays:

https://twitter.com/Cubs/status/1022599978890539008

That wasn’t even a bad pitch on 0-2!

The first play, by the way, improved the Cubs’ chances of winning by 7.6 percentage points, but his homer took the Cubs’ chances of winning from 11.1% to 58.3%! Dude had a HUGE impact on that game and, really, has been doing that all year.

Over multiple call-ups this season, Bote has done nothing but hit: .326/.421/.522 (148 wRC+). It’s been just 57 plate appearances, but he’s shown a proclivity for making contact, taking plenty of walks (14.0 BB%), and hitting for power (.196 ISO). His ground ball rate is way too high (57.1%), but, I mean, whatever. That’s just because of the small sample. (Heh. Yes, that’s a joke about the entire paragraph.) He’s hitting the ball with authority and using the entire field. That’s most of what we can say.

Bote’s also been a huge plus on defense in his limited duty. Having split his time between first, second, and third base, Bote has already earned 2 Defensive Runs Saved with a laughably (and obviously unsustainably high) 59.3 UZR/150 – the current leaders, Alex Gordon, Mookie Betts, and Andrelton Simmons hover around 20 UZR/150. The numbers are “just for fun” at this stage.

Still, whatever the numbers say doesn’t mean he hasn’t been generally awesome on defense and at multiple positions.

Although it feels like Bote sorta came out of nowhere – he did, but moreso last year when he emerged as a prospect, not just this year – he is starting to move up the various prospect rankings, and even recently snuck into the Cubs top 5 overall according to Baseball America. Because of that awesomeness on both sides of the ball, his versatility, youth, rising stock, and the time of the year, Bote has naturally made his way into various trade rumors, but it sounds like it’s not gonna happen. At least not right now:

It’s important to note – and really understand – Sharma’s first point there: Despite the fact that this post is meant to be a Bote love fest, let’s be sure we don’t get too crazy with his perceived value. If some team wanted to make Bote the centerpiece of a deal for something significant, you have to strongly consider that move. HOWEVA, it’s important to remember that Bote’s vaue to this particular Cubs team at this particular moment might be as high as it is for any other contender out there.

Indeed, with Ian Happ also hitting so well right now, the Cubs can afford to have all “regulars” in the lineup everyday without Kris Bryant. But as we saw, as soon as someone else goes down (like Baez), the depth that’s kept this team alive this season begins to tighten up. With Bote playing like he has been, that’s alleviated tremendously.

“He’s very important to us right now, I agree,” Joe Maddon said via NBC Sports Chicago. “Listen, we liked him in spring training. I saw him briefly the last couple years — maybe like in a game or two, he came on over. ‘David Bote is a good guy’ — I’m hearing all this stuff. But then all of a sudden, he starts putting balls in the left-centerfield gaps and over walls.”

And if all of this – the performance, the versatility, the Joe Maddon-love – wasn’t enough to sell you on Bote, how about some comments from the man, himself, who showed poise and wisdom when pressed on the topic of his name in trade rumors: “I don’t know what’s out there or who wants me or this or that,” he said. “My approach every day is to be the best David Bote ballplayer I can.”

So far, he has been. Good start, David Bote. ou’re making a lot of fans out there.

(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)


Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami