Cubs Do Not Top the Infield Rankings, Computer Overlords, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Cubs Do Not Top the Infield Rankings, Computer Overlords, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

I’d rather be very cold than very hot, but this 12-degree, wind-chill-below-zero stuff certainly tests the theory.

•   At ESPN, Buster Olney gathered up some input from evaluators and pundits around baseball to write up a top ten rankings list for every position in the infield. It will not surprise you to learn that no Cubs show up on the four infield lists, though Willson Contreras does come in at number six on the catcher list, behind Yasmani Grandal, JT Realmuto, Sal Perez, Will Smith, and Mike Zunino. I might take issue with Zunino ahead of Contreras, since 2021 was the first time in four years that Zunino has shown anything close to plus value on offense (the glove has always rated as stellar, though). But it generally seems fair for Contreras to be in this range, and it sure would be nice if the Cubs come out of the lockout with a plan for secure a few more seasons of Contreras’s time.

•   As for the rest of the infield, FRANK SCHWINDEL WAS ROBBED. No, but seriously, I don’t think there’s a spot where you could even make an argument. I think it’s *plausible* that Nick Madrigal *could* wind up a top ten second baseman by the time the season ends – I mean, we hope that, right? – but you couldn’t put him there right now (Chris Taylor, Jean Segura, and Gleyber Torres are numbers 8, 9, and 10, for what it’s worth). I guess it’s also possible that one of the other guys really breaks it out over the whole season, but that seems unlikely given how loaded the 3B/SS/1B lists are.

•   (Of course, if the Cubs sign Carlos Correa, they’d instantly have the guy who showed up at number one on the shortstop list.)

•   This got me thinking about third base again, by the way. As I’ve said before, I’m OK with the Cubs giving Patrick Wisdom some runway to see if he can make contact adjustments (the power is obviously great, and the glove is very good, so there’s a floor there) … but that was predicated on the Cubs making noticeable upgrades to the offense elsewhere. So far, that hasn’t happened. Moreover, with Kyle Seager retiring, I don’t have the obviously platoon partner in my back pocket to say “just pair that guy with Wisdom and all is good!” So that is all to say I’m a bit concerned about third base.

•   I’m not saying Wisdom, 30, couldn’t make the improvements we’ve discussed and then be at least an average player there, and maybe better. But the hole in his swing is so extreme that I don’t think you can (or should) bet on him being above-average in the first half, when you’re trying to give yourself a shot to compete. I’d feel better if there was that obvious platoon-mate on the roster so that at least you could optimize the match-ups a little better, and let Wisdom sit on some of the days when the Cubs are facing a righty who locates a premium four-seamer up in the zone. I might have to start digging back in on that.

•   I think maybe computers are better at this than teams:

•   The Cubs *ARE* the Heart of the Incoming Swarm! Also, could the Orioles one be any more perfect? I also love the Red Sox, Astros, A’s, the Padres (if it’s cut off, it says “We’ve Been In It Before”), and Blue Jays (“Chompin’ Trees For Your Pleasure”).

•   Networking gear, supplements, microscopes, and more are your Deals of the Day at Amazon. #ad

•   Making due with the Rally Monkey:

•   The DH is nearly 50 years old at this point, and it took that long to (probably) come to both leagues:

•   The interview requests are flying, with these just some of the latest:

•   Blackhawks prospect is breaking out:

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.