The Cubs keep seeming to finding promising infield prospects with an ability to play all over the diamond. From the obviously skillful Javier Baez, the versatile Ian Happ, an even the flexible Tommy La Stella, the Cubs one of the more resourceful infield groups in all of baseball.
Any infield that features Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo would already be considered dangerous enough, but add Baez and Addison Russell starting everyday, its going to be tough for anyone else to see consistent playing time in the Cubs infield for 2018.
However, Baseball America has shined their spotlight on a lesser known player in David Bote – who is coming off a special 2017 season in AA Tennessee.
The 24-year-old Bote was taken by the Cubs in the 18th round of the 2012 MLB draft and is currently listed as a 1st and 2nd baseman – according to Fangraphs, but has played everywhere but catcher during his six year minor league career. Up until this year, Bote’s versatility was one of his lone qualities that was making him stand out in the Cubs system.
However, that has changed quickly after Bote surprised everyone in the Cubs system with his power, smacking 14 homers in AA (after never hitting more than one home run in any league higher than A+).
His season was shadowed heavily by former Cubs top prospect Eloy Jimenez before he was traded to the White Sox in the Jose Quintana trade. But Bote slashed an impressive .272/.353/.438 with a 130 wRC+ in 127 games for Smokies, while play four different positions.
Ignore the weird slo-mo section of this video and watch Bote’s pretty stroke.
Bote’s natural position is 2nd base, where he played 107 games at in 2017, but he did play close to 20 games in the outfield this season as well. While likely a long shot to make the Cubs major league roster in next season, Bote could provide more serviceable depth over a Mike Freeman.
He also provides another solid piece to flip in a potential deal in the future, but it’s unlikely Bote finds his way onto a healthy Cubs roster in 2018.
Bote had this to say to Baseball America when asked about his performance this season.
“You’re always being evaluated,” Bote said. “Every single time you’re on the field you’re being evaluated … if it’s Rule 5 draft or not Rule 5 draft or free agent year. I don’t necessarily put any extra emphasis on it because every day I’m getting evaluated. There’s always a scout in the stands, whether you’re playing in rookie ball or you’re playing in Triple-A or even in the big leagues, you’re always being scouted … The only thing I control is to go out there, work hard and perform the way I perform. Whatever happens is going to happen.”
Regardless, David Bote is another fun player that has turned himself into another asset the Cubs can utilize in a few ways, as versatility continues to pay off big time for the Cubs.