I’ll finish the 2020 report cards with a look at the reserve position players today.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 5, 2020
- Victor Caratini – The backup catcher reversed all of his power gains from 2019, bating .167 and slugging a paltry .328, though he still got on base at a decent clip (.333). He’s the personal catcher for Yu Darvish and he did catch the no-hitter thrown by Alec Mills on September 13. He’ll need to get better at driving the ball next year, his barrel rate dropped from 8.5 to 3.5%. Final Grade: C-
- Jason Kipnis – It’s fair to say the Cubs got everything they expected from Kipnis this year, and maybe even a little more. His wRC+ jumped from 82 to 102, but his numbers were buoyed by a white-hot start. He struck out a little too much (30.4%), especially as the season wore on, and he batted just .208 in September. At least he was better than Daniel Descalso. Final Grade: B-
- David Bote – Though he doesn’t really have a defined position, Bote stepped in admirably for Kris Bryant when the third baseman was injured this year. His batting average (.200) and OBP (.303) plummeted this year, but he hit for power (.208 ISO), and led the team with 29 RBI. Bote did hit into some bad luck in 2020 (.228 BABIP), too. Believe it or not, that all adds up to a league-average player. Final Grade: C
- Albert Almora, Jr. – It was another wasted season for the backup center fielder, and the Cubs had no problem shipping him to their alternate site in South Bend at the end of August. Almora batted just .167 on the season, though he only managed 30 at-bats. Perhaps David Ross was keenly aware of what all of us already knew: The former first round draft choice just can’t hit. Over five seasons, Almora has a wRC+ of 85. Final Grade: F
- Cameron Maybin – Almora’s failures were the sole reason for acquiring Maybin from the Tigers in a last-minute deal on August 31. He had just 56 at-bats in Chicago, but was reportedly a tremendous influence on the team in the dugout and clubhouse. He did steal three bases in his limited role and I imagine he’s someone Theo Epstein would like to bring back in 2021. Final Grade: B+
Cubs News & Notes
- The Cubs completed their trade with the Diamondbacks for reliever Andrew Chafin, sending minor league infielder Ronny Simon to Arizona.
- Mark Prior continues to have flashbacks from the Cubs’ ill-fated 2003 season.
- MLBTR published their offseason outlook for the Cubs, who are once again constrained by payroll limitations and may look to shake things up in the trade market.
- Fantasy baseball site Razzball is off to an early start in publishing team prospect lists. They’ve started with the NL Central and recently posted their top 10 prospects for the Cubs, who are led by outfielder Brennen Davis and LHP Brailyn Marquez.
- If you’re really into prospects, here are their lists for the Brewers and Reds, too.
- The Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation launched a charity fundraiser to provide warm Thanksgiving dinners for pediatric cancer patients and their families. Those interested in donating to the Thanksgiving fundraiser can do so here.
Odds & Sods
You’re singing Harry Caray’s Jody Davis song right now, aren’t you?
Here’s a 1986 Chicagoland TV ad for Toyota trucks featuring Cubs catcher Jody Davis. The backstop’s best offensive campaign was in 1984, when he slugged 19 homers and finished 10th in the NL MVP voting. #MLB #baseball #sports #TV #Chicago #Cubs #chicagoland #cubbies #toyota pic.twitter.com/iZJaW4jnQt
— Classic MLB vids (@classicMLBvids) October 19, 2020
The Reds could be one of the teams favored to acquire Lindor, though my money is on the Blue Jays or Yankees.
Here is the complete list of this year’s award winners.
Orioles outfielder Trey Mancini is back in the batting cage. Mancini, who underwent surgery to remove a malignant tumor in March after being diagnosed with colon cancer, completed chemotherapy last month and Baltimore activated him from the 60-day injured list yesterday.
Sox fans are hoping the move to hire La Russa doesn’t backfire and stunt the growth of a young team that looks to be a contender for the next 4-5 years.
All things considered, MLB had a very successful season. The tricky part will be doing it again in 2021.
It remains to be seen if the NL will adopt the DH rule for next season and beyond.
It would be nice if 2020 would please stop the hurt. ESPN announced 300 layoffs amidst dwindling revenues and disruption due to the ongoing pandemic.
Heartbroken for all my friends at ESPN who lost their dream jobs today. Many people out there don’t know your names. But those of us who know you know how much you’ve meant to all of us whose lives and jobs wouldn’t have been the same without you. Thinking of you all tonight.
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) November 6, 2020
Don’t forget to check out CI’s alternate site, Bears Insider.
They Said It
- “It’s a little hard right now coming in and being the new guy and being lost and not knowing where to go. But it’ll be fun, it’s exciting. It’s out of the comfort zone again and that’s actually what you want right now, to be uncomfortable and — I don’t know — I miss this feeling a little bit, so it’ll be good. Once the offseason kinda played out the way it did, I started weighing the options and seeing which boxes to check with which team, and this one checked the most for me, So by the time I made the decision [to sign with the Cubs], it really wasn’t that hard for me.”- Jason Kipnis
- “Clearly, some change is warranted and necessary. Simply hoping for a better outcome moving forward doesn’t seem like a thoughtful approach. Embracing some change, even significant change, is warranted.” – Theo Epstein
Friday Walk Up Song
Black Roses by Escondido – If you’re an indie band and filmmaker David Lynch recognizes you on Twitter, you must be good. I’m proud to have brought Escondido to SXSW in 2013, where part of this video was filmed. I’d love to work with the duo again when the world returns to normal.