3 biggest Cubs stories through 3 weeks of spring training
We're just about two weeks from the Cubs home opener against the Milwaukee. Hopefully, that means warmer temperatures here in Chicago, but I've also sat through enough misty, damp Opening Days at the Friendly Confines to know better than to expect such luck.
In the meantime, at least we can tune into spring training action and check in on the Cubs, who boast the fourth-best record in Cactus League play. As the roster starts to take shape and we draw nearer to David Ross and Jed Hoyer making critical decisions about who breaks camp with the big league club and who heads down to Iowa, let's look at 3 of the biggest storylines around the team so far.
3 biggest Cubs spring training storylines: #3 - David Bote trying to hit his way onto the Opening Day roster
Outrighted off the 40-man last fall, David Bote finds himself in a weird spot this spring. With a crowded infield picture following the signing of Dansby Swanson and no clear route to reps in the outfield, earning a bench spot feels like a best case scenario for Bote - and he's certainly done everything in his power to earn it.
Entering action Wednesday, Bote carried a 1.317 OPS - although it comes with a caveat of a small 27 plate appearance sample size. Every year, there's a guy who plays out of his mind in spring training only to be a non-factor in the regular season. Hopefully, that isn't the case for the almost-30-year-old infielder.
After whiffing in 35 percent of his trips to the plate last year in limited action, Bote has just five strikeouts to four walks this spring. Hopefully, he can find a way to bring value to the team, especially since he's still got two years left on that extension he signed back during the Theo Epstein era (plus two options, but it seems like a guarantee the Cubs will buy them out).