Tuesday, March 21, 2023

David Bote Is The Cubs’ Spring Training Dark Horse


We all remember David Bote as the walk-off grand slam guy, but not much more. He saw a lot of playing time in 2019 but then fell off tremendously in the next two seasons. What could’ve happened? That’s the question all of us Cubs fans want the answer to because Boat was a key player three seasons ago, but now he’s entering the 2023 season as the third-string, third-baseman, and possibly fourth. Well, I’m convinced we’re seeing the resurrection of Bote’s career in Mesa.

Bote is crushing it in the Cactus League, but with a very small sample size. As it stands this morning, Bote is second on the team in batting average (.474), second in hits (9), tied for first in walks (4), tied for first in RBIs (5), and third in OPS (1.442). Again, super small sample size. It also helps that he’s in the top four of plate appearances, which gives him a clear advantage to prove himself. But, he is indeed proving himself and much better than anyone could have expected.

We saw a huge downshift in his play during the Covid-struck 2020 season, and the cursed bug followed him into 2021 as well. Hitting .200 and .199, he was considered a bench bat, and the Bote expectations died quickly. However, is he back? There was a mini resurgence last year when his average and on-base percentage both became career highs, and now we have Spring Training to look at. It’s now more than ever when players on the brink of making a 40-man roster must go out and prove themselves. While Bote is a little safer than most other cusp players, he still needs to show David Ross he has what it takes to perform daily, and I think he is overachieving now.

Here’s the thing, I find it hard to live in a world where Bote sees more playing time than he has in prior years. Being defined as a third and second baseman, both those positions have a lot of competition, and Bote isn’t in the top two. Nico Hoerner has locked down the starting role at second base, and with Nick Madrigal’s hopes still being alive after what has been an impressive Spring Training, I don’t see Bote seeing a ton of reps there. Third base can get a little more interesting, as that’s Bote’s primary position, but we are led to assume that playing time there will be split with Patrick Wisdom and Christopher Morel. After one hell of an offseason and bulking up the roster in all 10 positions, David Bote will have to work to see similar playing time as he did in years past. I could see him taking some swings at DH during the season, but that also seems tough, with Trey Mancini being the primary designated hitter this season. If David Bote continues to have this surge, what does Ross do with him? Over his tenure, Ross has taken a page out of his predecessor Joe Maddon’s playbook and made some interesting lineups over his coaching career, so maybe Bote may get more reps than I expect. But the front office hasn’t paid for him to field a contending team until this season, so there is a little more structure and consistency with the lineups this season, which isn’t ideal for someone like Bote.

Only time will tell if David Bote is the 2023 Cubs’ dark horse. The Cubs can’t pretend like his stellar Spring Training won’t go unnoticed, but no one knows to what extent this helps Bote’s playing time. I think I speak for most Cubs fans when I say that I would love for Bote to be a daily lineup player and get as much playing time out of him as we possibly can, as long as the numbers stay up to a starter level. 


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Mar 14, 2023 11:01 am

Move along. This is spring training, nothing to see here. Don’t be fooled by any of this stuff. Pay no attention to the Bote behind the curtain.

Mar 14, 2023 5:29 am

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Last edited 7 days ago by Bright
Mar 13, 2023 6:57 pm


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