The Rundown: Grading Cubs’ Reserve Players, 2021 Prospect Lists Starting Already, Indians Expect to Move Lindor This Winter

I’ll finish the 2020 report cards with a look at the reserve position players today.

  1. 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-
  2. 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-
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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

Odds & Sods

You’re singing Harry Caray’s Jody Davis song right now, aren’t you?

Friday Stove

The Indians reportedly intend to trade all-star shortstop Francisco Lindor before the start of the 2021 campaign.

The Reds could be one of the teams favored to acquire Lindor, though my money is on the Blue Jays or Yankees.

The Braves had four players win Silver Slugger Awards, including Ronald Acuña Jr. and Freddie Freeman.

Here is the complete list of this year’s award winners.

Starting pitcher Marcus Stroman is “leaning toward” rejecting the qualifying offer he received from the Mets in order to opt for free agency.

The Red Sox are close to deciding on their next manager and the expectation is that it will either be Alex Cora or Sam Fuld.

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.

White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson is eager to play for Tony La Russa and had an interesting response regarding the new skipper’s age.

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.

Extra Innings

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.

Gratuitous Plug

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.

Back to top button