Chicago Cubs: Spring training position battles

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Third base:  Kris Bryant vs Mike Olt vs Tommy La Stella

So, we all want Kris Bryant up with the Cubs as soon as possible.  Will it happen though? I’m not sure, I think the front office will keep Bryant down to keep the extra year of control.  So who then will be at the hot corner on opening day?  The Cubs have a few options they can go with – but it all depends on Kris Bryant and what management feels is the best plan.

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The first option in my opinion is Mike Olt.  Last year, Olt showed a lot of power and a lot of strikeouts.  Was that the Mike Olt we can expect this year and beyond? I don’t think so.  Mike Olt was a big time prospect with the Texas Rangers.  They were adamant they would not trade him unless they hit the right offer.  Olt has the tools to be a starting third baseman, he just needs to catch his break.  Olt now is going to play his second season after his Lasik eye surgery – I’d expect that to help.

Olt may not be as smooth defensively at third as one would want, but he’s better than what the average third baseman is.  He has decent range and a strong enough arm that he probably is the better option over La Stella.  Again, like most position battles – who wants it more and who’s willing to put in the extra work to get it?

This all may be a moot point if Bryant does what he’s been doing all along since the Cubs drafted him.  But I still expect Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer to look more down the road and keep Bryant in the minors long enough to keep the service time in the Cubs favor.  If that holds true, I see Olt running away with this battle.  I see a very solid year from Mike Olt.  He showed the willingness to work and do what is asked of him last year.  Making himself more valuable to the Cubs by playing first and the outfield.  Olt has a role with this team and to start the year, I see that role being the starting third baseman until Bryant comes up and takes it over.

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