Montgomery and Bote key Cubs win, plus All My Children, Cubs version

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The Cubs ran their winning streak to three games with a 5-0 win over the Kansas City Royals Tuesday night. Mike Montgomery went six innings and was followed by Carl Edwards Jr., Jesse Chavez and Justin Wilson who each pitched a scoreless inning.  David Bote was the star on offense.

Kris who?  (Just kidding)

Bote went 2-3 with three RBIs.  His first inning triple drove home two runs and got the Cubs off to the races.  His great play has mitigated the loss of Kris Bryant.  There is no timeline for Bryant’s return, so the play of Bote becomes even more important.  He already has a WAR of 1.3 in limited playing time.  For sake of comparison, Kyle Schwarber has a WAR of 1.7.  I’ll take a little time to talk about the Cubs young guys at the major league level.

So much for the Russell vs Baez debate

Remember a little while back when it was thought the Cubs might trade one or more of their young position players for pitching?  The trick at that time was to decide who would bust out and who might not reach their projected ceiling.  We now have more data to look at.  For a while it was hard to decide who would become the better player, Addison Russell or Javy Baez.  Javy’s MVP type season has answered that question.  Russell isn’t a bad player, and will probably get better, but Baez clearly has more value now.

Is this Kyle Scwarber's ceiling?

It’s possible the Cubs overvalued Kyle Schwarber.  Kyle is a decent player and has become an almost average major league outfielder with a good throwing arm, but hasn’t become the offensive force that was deemed possible.  At one time there was talk of trading Schwarber for Andrew Miller straight up.  Miller has lost a little of his shine due to injury issues, so I’m not sure who has more value now.

The curious case of Ian Happ

Ian Happ is an interesting case.  Happ is versatile, has power and will take a walk, but strikes out at an alarming rate of about 36%.  Javy Baez has been able to cut his strikeout rate down and for Happ to increase his value; he will need to do the same.  There is a huge difference between the approach of Baez and the approach of Happ, however.  Baez tended to swing at everything, in or out of the strike zone.  Happ is very selective and swings and misses at a lot of high fastballs.  I’m not sure which problem is easier to correct.

No surprises here

Out of all the Cubs young players, Albert Almora Jr. seems to have been the easiest to project.  It was thought he’d bring a good glove and good bat to ball hitting skills, albeit with limited power.  And that’s exactly the way it’s played out.  Albert is playing well now; I’m just not sure how high his ceiling is.

Who's number two?

It’s kind of ironic that the Cubs still have all their young position n players at the major league level.  That’s proven to be a real asset as the Cubs have really used their depth this season.  At this moment, David Bote might be their most valuable young player, besides Javy Baez, of course.

Willson is in a class by himself

I didn’t talk about Willson Contreras up to this point because Willson is in a category by himself.  As one of the best young catchers in the game, Willson was never going to go anywhere.

 

 

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