Chicago Cubs seem likely to stay in-house at second base

(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
2 of 3
Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Internal options on the roster

Robel Garcia, Daniel Descalso and David Bote carry over from the 2019 roster and, frankly, none of them stood out as the clear successor at second base.

Defensively Garcia rated a -6.7 UZR-150 from Fangraphs and a very subpar .927 fielding percentage.  At the plate, his power burst out impressively at times, but he struck out a ton, didn’t get on base much, and barely took a walk.

Then there’s the head-scratching acquisition of Daniel Descalso.  Okay, in 2019 his .978 fielding percentage and 1.9 UZR-150 made him the best defensive option at second among the three.  But his bat was a total disaster.  Not that he was ever a prolific hitter as his career .235/.320/.362 slash will confirm.  Can he bounce back or is it time to move on?

Overall David Bote projects better than the other two.  At second, his UZR-150 is even, and his .970 fielding percentage at second, while still below league average, is actually far better than his numbers at third.  At the plate, Bote has shown improved pitch recognition and on-base skills, and over two seasons in the eight spot slashed .337/.479/.576 and 1.055 OPS in 39 games and 119 plate appearances.

That last point has to be considered. One huge failure of the Cubs last season was the inability of the bottom of the order to turn over the lineup. In other words, to feed the beasts lurking at the top.  If Bote can put up numbers even close to those career numbers in the eight spot it would lengthen the line up considerably.

My concern with Bote is pairing him with Baez up the middle.  He will have to up his game considerably to make that middle infield combination work successfully.