David Bote might be forgiven if he would like to forget the 2021 season altogether. Oft injured, he appeared in only 95 games. This was further exacerbated by the fact that he was one of the few Chicago Cubs players who inked an extension – putting a spotlight on his performance.
Besides the limited availability, his statistics are not holding up well for a player who the team seems to value. His batting average dropped to .199, thirty-three points below his previous career average of .232. Other numbers paint an even more harrowing picture. His on-base percentage dropped to .276 from his already modest three-year average of .328. Additionally, Bote’s slugging went from .413 for the previous three years down to .388.
Perhaps most disturbing is the decline in his OPS and OPS+. The former went from .741 to .606 and the latter, a 100-based rating, plummeted from 95 to 63. Bote also grounded into a career-high 13 double plays.
None of this plays well for a member of the forthcoming 2022 Cubs. Bote must work diligently this winter to improve his performance at the plate. If he doesn’t get back on track, Chicago could quickly pivot to alternatives moving forward.
Chicago Cubs: Where does David Bote fit into the team’s plans?
As for his prospects in the field, things look even worse. With the arrival of Nick Madrigal, Bote’s play at second base will decrease significantly. The likelihood that he can shift to third base is overshadowed by the presence of both Patrick Wisdom and Matt Duffy (should the team bring him back this winter). It might be time for Bote to focus on improving his skills as an outfielder.
Unfortunately, it appears that despite how much he works on his defensive skills, Bote appears to be destined to play a bench role next season. That will mean being used as a pitch hitter. If that’s the case, his offense must substantially improve.
I’m certain Bote has big plans for this winter. Those plans should include a focus on the specific areas where he showed his greatest declines. No matter what happens during this offseason, it’s clear that David Bote has a great deal of work to do.