Chicago Cubs: Quintin Berry’s addition gives team speed threat


With Russell out, Berry added to give Cubs a bigger threat on the bases

With Addison Russell unavailable to the Chicago Cubs for the NLCS, Quintin Berry was added to the roster to take his place. Berry is a capable outfielder if called upon, but make no mistake–Berry is on this team for his speed and ability to steal a base. The Cubs are deep–and flexible with many of their position players. Having a pinch-running specialist is a luxury not all teams will have in the postseason.

Berry is 32-for-33 in stolen base attempts, including 5-for-5 in the postseason with Detroit and Boston. While his experience in the postseason is minimal, he’s still another player who is familiar with this stage. Berry, Jon Lester, and David Ross were all part of that 2013 Boston Red Sox Championship team. This team really is more than a bunch of “kids” that don’t know any better.

The Cubs were ninth overall in the Majors in stolen bases, swiping 95 while being caught 37 times (71.97 success rate). Cubs’ skipper Joe Maddon ran more often earlier in the season and did so to have runners in motion and stay out of double plays. As you might expect, Dexter Fowler led the team with 20. What might surprise you is Anthony Rizzo was second with 17. Kris Bryant (13), and Chris Coghlan (11) were the only others to hit double-digits in stolen bases.

The bench for the Cubs has experience and the ability to hit–but speed is not as prevalent. There aren’t many that Maddon would be comfortable to give the straight steal sign too. In Berry, he has that baserunner. He can use him in several different situations. Whether it be to steal, force a pitcher to focus on him and less on the hitter, or pinch-run for someone in scoring position.

The loss of Russell hurts, but not having him at 100% and eating up a valuable roster spot wouldn’t do the Cubs any good if he was no more than day-to-day.

Next: Now is not the time to panic about Russell