David Bote has been a revelation for the Chicago Cubs in 2018. He has no business in the minor leagues for the foreseeable future.
David Bote has been something of an anti-anxiety medicine for Chicago Cubs fans. The impact of injuries that would otherwise be detrimental to the Cubs have been mitigated by Bote’s break out season. Kris Bryant’s shoulder won’t be the downfall of the 2018 Cubs and we have Bote to thank for that.
But Bryant won’t be injured forever and his return to health will be a threat to Bote’s roster spot.
Big league numbers
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Bote took his time getting to the Cubs’ MLB roster. For the first few years of his career, his chances of seeing MLB pitching seemed rather dim. From about 2012-2016, his stats were underwhelming. He was typically hitting in the mid .200s with a wRC+ that danced right around the league average of 100. His single-season homerun count didn’t hit double digits until 2017. Nonetheless, his call to the majors came this season.
Bote has been one of those rare cases where his best career numbers (so far) have come in the major leagues. He’s slashing .328/.419/.508 with a wRC+ of 147 in his 74 plate appearances. If he qualifies, that’s bound to be worth a Rookie of the Year vote or two.
Bote’s hitting almost identically against left and right handed pitchers; he’s hitting .333 against lefties and .323 against righties. He’s also doing his best hitting in high leverage plate appearances where he’s hitting .600 with a homerun and four RBI. His of-the-bench performances spells good things for the safety of his roster spot post-Kris Bryant injury. He’s hitting .500 in his pinch hitting appearances.
We can cry small sample size all we want, but those are major league numbers, and until they aren’t, Bote should be an MLB player—regardless of Bryant’s health.