David Bote handled third base well in Bryant’s absence
By WILL HOEFER
If you’re a fan of baseball, chances are you’ve watched the David Bote walk-off grand slam at least 25 times by now. We’re talking about a perfect moment. In the wake of that, there have been excellent pieces written about the sheer magnitude of that play in terms of Win Probability Added and how Bote has hit baseballs harder than any human at the game’s highest level in 2018.
What’s been less talked about, to an extent, is how Bote is not just a one-trick pony. Bote has a limited but solid track record of defensive performance this year at third base for the Cubs. Let’s give a little love for his glove as he did ably in replacing Kris Bryant, who just returned from the DL.
Bote has four Defensive Runs Saved in his first 40 games at third base for the Cubs. He rates slightly above average on balls in the hole and down the line and hasn’t shown any weaknesses at the position. Additionally, he has 11 Good Fielding Plays and 3 Misplays and Errors as judged by our video scout staff. We have a rating given by Video Scouts for each play that assesses it on a 1-5 scale. Bote’s rating is such that he ranks fourth among third basemen, behind Matt Chapman, Nolan Areando and Anthony Rendon.
Bote ranks well in Defensive Runs Saved and Scout’s Defensive Rating for all third baseman, which is mighty impressive considering how small his sample is at the major league level and how his numbers in the minors were mainly achieved at second base (where he rated well last season by our Minor League Defensive Runs Saved).
Regression is probably coming for both his offensive and defensive metrics. Players in general rarely mash like Aaron Judge and pick it like Chapman for a sustained period of time; for fringe prospects like Bote such continued performance is a near impossibility. But for the sake of baseball breakouts, it would be cool if he kept it up.