The Little Boy has become obsessed with deploying the hedge trimmer with me. The problem is that we have only so many bushes and trees and whathaveyou that can actually be trimmed, and they certainly don’t grow fast enough to replenish in time to satisfy his daily desire to rip ’em up again. I wonder if we can start cutting up cardboard boxes or something …
• Ian Happ chatted at The Athletic and dropped this on the designated hitter coming to the NL:
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) May 12, 2020
• To be sure, as a position player who might pick up some extra starts in left field (and/or at DH) with the addition of the DH, Happ has an interest in seeing the DH arrive at this moment in time. But he’s also not wrong (though, for me, wanting the DH in the NL is slightly more about simply wanting the rules to be the same between the leagues, and the DH is almost 50 years old, so it’s not going away).
• To that end, by the way, if baseball is played this year, it’s going to include the DH, and I could indeed see it meaning more starts in left field for Happ. On days when Kyle Schwarber is used as the DH, you’ll have the option of letting Happ play in left, where he’s always looked at his best defensively to me (and the data agrees). That would probably be a net gain to the Cubs in left and at DH on those days … but it opens up the big question mark in center field. We’d all love if Albert Almora’s swing and approach changes finally allowed him to be good enough at the plate to justify everyday starts in center, and there were certainly some positive signs/storylines in spring. But the reality is that it’s far more likely Almora doesn’t quite get there, and, at most, justifies only periodic starts and a late-game defensive role.
• On the whole, even with the DH, I still think it’s more likely (and more advisable) to be thinking about Happ seeing most of his time in center field, with occasional starts there by some combination of Almora, Jason Heyward, Steven Souza, Jr., and/or Nico Hoerner.
• Happ, in addition to the media spots and his podcast, is also doing some good right now:
• Ian Miller was having a great Spring Training at the plate when it was shut down, though the Cubs didn’t bring him in for his bat. Nevertheless, he’s staying ready during the shutdown, and remains in the mix for a bench job with the big league team if there’s ball this year:
From a ponytail hung above his manager's door to a missing fake tooth, speedy outfielder Ian Miller has had quite the journey to the Cubs.
— Tony Andracki (@TonyAndracki23) May 12, 2020
• Miller knows he’s a speed guy, and he set about showing the Cubs all Spring that he could fit in that role for the team. I hope he gets the chance.
• A fun analytical dive from Jordan Bastian on a famous Cubs hit:
Everyone remembers Rizzo's look of disbelief and Zobrist's leap of joy. It was the hit that helped end one drought, and prolong another. Was it the right pitch? Was Cleveland's defense properly aligned?
Let's revisit Shaw vs. Zobrist through the numbers: https://t.co/GyNrb822ML
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) April 29, 2020
• The Cubs published a new video to their YouTube channel, chronicling the ‘Dude Perfect’ visit to Wrigley Field last year, which included some go kart racing with Kris Bryant:
• Obligatory after that? Dude Perfect baseball trick shots:
• Another random YouTube while I had them on the brain – remembering the time I’m really glad Willy was OK, which means it’s fair to laugh at absolutely everything in this clip, including how hard Len and JD had to work NOT to laugh:
• Get this … I found and shared that video before I realized … today is Willson Contreras’s birthday … sorry Willson:
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) May 13, 2020