La Stella Still Good at His Job, Bote Still Hits the Ball Hard, Smyly Still Got It, and Other Bullets

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La Stella Still Good at His Job, Bote Still Hits the Ball Hard, Smyly Still Got It, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Listened to a pair of podcasts about Boltzmann brains this week, and now I’m pretty sure I’m just a disembodied orb floating out in the void of space imagining all of this. It’s wild out here.

  • After a very, very hot start to the season as a pinch hitter, Tommy La Stella hadn’t done much for quite a while until his game-winning homer last night. But here’s an example of how our perspective on a bench guy can be skewed by the contrast between how much time has passed (lots of “bad” performance) and how few opportunities they get: La Stella was hitting just .202/.264/.250 (41 wRC+) on the season before last night. One pinch-hit homer and his batting average jumped 10 points, his OBP jumped 8 points, and his slugging jumped 44(!) points. On one swing, he went from “59% worse than league average” to “46% worse than league average.” One swing. Seems kind of silly, eh?
  • The main point: La Stella is a good pinch hitter. It’s a hard job to do with any kind of consistent success, and the samples are always going to be tiny. Good on him for ripping one last night.
  • Joe Maddon on La Stella and the tough job of a pinch hitter ( “He’s always prepared. He goes up there, and he’s not concerned about failure. He just goes up there trying to make something happen. He’s pretty good about that. If he sees his pitch, it normally gets hit very hard. Give him a lot of credit. I try to play him as often as we can to keep the bat fresh when he gets those opportunities, but he never complains.”
(Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
  • Another soon-to-be quality bench player (not his fault!) for the Cubs, David Bote, gets a deep dive at The gist is something you’ve heard here before – dude hits the ball as hard as anyone in baseball, and that’s hard to fake – but there are lots of different angles to approach that fundamental point. And it’s a reminder that, unlike most pop-up, break-out, coming-out-of-nowhere guys who put up good numbers in a short first stint in the big leagues, there might be more reason to believe Bote can really be a plus offensive player.
  • More Bote:

  • So, results aren’t really what you’re looking at specifically when it comes to a rehab outing at the A-ball level, but still, this ain’t too bad:

  • With only a handful of days left in the various minor league seasons, it’ll be interesting to see if Smyly goes to a different level for his next outing or if he stays at South Bend. It remains to be seen if he’ll be activated from the 60-day DL (which will require a 40-man roster spot) for the Cubs in September as a lefty relief option.
  • Good baseball boy:

  • Pfft, whateves:

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.