Hitters Are Happy About Shift Limits (But), the First Base Mix of Playing Time, Early 20th Century Cubs Uniforms Are Great, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Hitters Are Happy About Shift Limits (But), the First Base Mix of Playing Time, Early 20th Century Cubs Uniforms Are Great, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Man I wish I had better bagels available near me. The whole New York thing is just straight up true. I want a legit New York bagel right now, and it is not possible for me to get it.

  • Cubs lefty hitters are happy about the opportunity to start batting against infields that can’t do the extreme shift thing, as Jordan Bastian writes here at Cubs.com. I tend to think the Cubs have a little less exposure there than the average lineup – the big ones are Cody Bellinger, Eric Hosmer, and maybe Ian Happ? So it’s probably not going to help the Cubs any more than other clubs out there, but I have nothing against the individual players looking forward to a few more hits.
  • I do, though, think that there’s going to be some disappointment about the types of hits that still don’t get through. Batted balls right back up the box are likely to still turn into outs with a shifted shortstop juuuust barely on the left of second base, which is in line with the rules. We’ve heard Cody Bellinger say something like this before, and now Eric Hosmer is saying it, too (Cubs.com): “I think a lot of us are really looking forward to that. It just kind of seems like there’s going to be more hits out there for guys. There’s no worse feeling than hitting the ball hard up the middle and seeing the shortstop standing right there. So maybe this could be better for the offensive player, especially the left-handed hitter.”
  • The shortstop is still going to be standing right there, I’m sorry to say. Without the pie slice rule, there’s nothing to prevent infielders from being basically right up the middle. If you want to open the middle back up (I do! hitters do!), you have to carve out a section of the middle that is no man’s land – infielders have to stay on the left and right of the pie slice. The league has experimented with it in the minor leagues, and I really hope that they look to implement it after the 2023 season (assuming I’m right that batted balls up the middle for these guys still all turn into outs).
  • Although Jed Hoyer has said that Eric Hosmer will be given the chance to be the regular first baseman against righties, I think it’s interesting just how extreme his draft position is for fantasy players relative to both Trey Mancini and Matt Mervis. To be sure, Mancini has value because he qualifies at other positions, but both he and Mervis are being drafted in the range of guys like Triston Casas and D.J. LeMahieu and Spencer Torkleson, whereas Hosmer is going 300 picks later, around Keston Hiura and Bobby Dalbec. In other words, fantasy players are drafting these guys as though both Mancini and Mervis could be useful/have upside, and are drafting Hosmer as though he will not play much AND he will be bad.
  • Fantasy is not the same as reality, and not to say the drafters are right or wrong, but sometimes there is wisdom there. My gut tells me the Cubs’ plan right now is to give Hosmer at least a full month of starts against righties, and they’ll see how he looks in a new home, with a new staff, etc. They will also, in that time, be observing whatever finishing bits are left in Mervis’s development. That month mark – assuming everyone is healthy – is when you might see the first moment where the Cubs could make a change. But if Hosmer is hitting, or if Mervis is still working on some things, you could see Hosmer continue to get runway. After May, though, I don’t think there’s much of anything Hosmer could do to “block” Mervis if it’s clear his bat will translate in the bigs. At that point, the Cubs would simply bring up Mervis, and figure out how to coordinate everything else beyond that.
  • I wish the Cubs would bring back more of their pre-1940 looks. So many good ones, even in black and white:
  • Whatever the choice, can I just say … ENOUGH with the powder blue alternates all around baseball. I’m just tired of it being the default “ooh, we’re doing something different” look for EVERY team.
  • And Rob Manfred wouldn’t take away their piece of metal:
  • Get that thing outta my air space:
  • That bat is crazy. Batting with a javelin out there:

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.