Editor’s note: Ashley MacLennan is a writer and editor for Bless You Boys, SB Nation’s Detroit Tigers blog. She also happens to be a Cubs fan, which made the recent trade of Alex Avila to the Cubs a lot easier to stomach. She does, however, miss writing about him regularly, and as such will now be doing a weekly update on his achievements.
I’ve made note of this before, but Alex Avila is a walk-drawing machine.
On September 28, he walked once and collected one single. And in Friday’s victory against the Reds he walked not once, not twice, but three times in the game, scoring one of the Cubs runs as well (off a Jon Jay sac fly).
Last time I wrote about Avila’s plate discipline, I mentioned how he leads the Cubs in walk rate — for players with over 50 plate appearances — and he has continued to maintain a 15.1% walk rate since then (not taking into account the three walks he drew on Friday).
Avila’s ability to cover multiple positions also came in handy this week as he took reps at first base, something he did frequently with the Tigers to give breathing room to an injured Miguel Cabrera. In this case, it’s an opportunity to rest guys like Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant (Ian Happ at third?!) in preparation for some mighty important postseason matchups coming down the pipeline.
It’s not that these games don’t matter, but it demonstrates that Joe Maddon is able to rely on his bench when he needs them and the team can still win without its biggest stars on the field.
Speaking of multi-faceted catchers who can also play the infield, I’d be remiss in not giving a shoutout to the awesome extra innings performance of Taylor Davis in Thursday night’s game. No, this isn’t an Avila update, but third-string catchers who sometimes play third base also deserve love.
Cubs secondary catchers all seem to be able to grow very majestic beards. It’s impressive.
On a more serious note, I am typically a Detroit Tigers writer. With the Cubs punching their ticket for a second round of postseason glory, it thrills me beyond measure to know Avila will get the opportunity to play for a championship team. With the Tigers focused on a rebuild, and his career likely in its last few years, I want nothing more than to see him get a ring. The Cubs offer him a golden opportunity for that.
Go, Cubs, go.