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BCB After Dark: What’s on second?

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Your late night spot for Cubs talk asks: Who will be the Cubs’ second baseman this year?

Ildemaro Vargas
Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Welcome to BCB After Dark: the coolest Cubs hangout for night owls, early risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. As always, bring your own beverage and we’re still workshopping the slogan.

I noticed some of you were posting links to music in the comments. I thought that was a good idea. In order to keep the cool, late night vibe that we’re shooting for here, I’m going to start including music, beginning with some Coltrane. You can press play and listen while you read the article.

I know Coltrane (and jazz) isn’t to everyone’s taste and I’m willing to take music suggestions for future installments. Just try to keep it to the “late night” vibe that I’m going for here. As much fun as AC/DC music can be during the day, I’m looking for things that won’t wake up the entire house if someone is listening and reading after everyone else has gone to bed.

Last time I asked you who the Cubs second-best starter will be in 2021 and the winner, with 56 percent of the vote, was Zach Davies.

Today’s topic is “What’s on second?” or who is going to be the Cubs’ second baseman in 2021? To be more specific, who do you think will get the most time at second base this upcoming season. We’ve got three candidates and Jordan Bastian has a good rundown of their strengths and weaknesses in this piece. But here’s a quick overview of the candidates:

Nico Hoerner: Hoerner split time with Jason Kipnis at second base last year, with Kipnis logging around 40 more innings there than Hoerner over the course of the season. On defense Hoerner was better than advertised but on offense he was a major disappointment. Bastian notes that Hoerner has put in a lot of time this offseason putting on muscle and making adjustments to his swing. Sometimes that helps. Sometimes it doesn’t.

David Bote: Bote mostly played third base in 2020, but Bastian notes that he was more comfortable at second. Bote only hit .200 last year, but it was a loud .200 with a .303 OBP and a .408 SLG. Plus, he was much better in 2019. Bote also has demonstrated a very severe reverse-platoon split over the course of his career, hitting right-handers much better than lefties. That’s got to be a fluke, right? Or is it? Anyway, Bote is not the defender that Hoerner is, but at the moment he appears to be the better bat.

Ildemaro Vargas: The Cubs picked up Vargas on waivers last September and he went 2 for 9 with a home run off Josh Hader for the Cubs. He’s spent most of his career bouncing between Triple-A and the majors, but he did have a decent season for the Diamondbacks as a utility player in 2019. Vargas is a switch-hitter who can play pretty much every position on the diamond except pitcher and catcher, so he may be a better candidate to be a bench player. But he’s demonstrated that he was a better hitter than Hoerner was last season and a better fielder than Bote was. Maybe he’ll be that sweet center spot between hitting and fielding in 2021 and claim the starting job.

Someone else: I don’t know. Maybe you think all three of these guys will wash out by June and Chase Strumpf will get a chance and run with it. Maybe you think the Cubs will move Ian Happ back to second. Or maybe you think the Cubs will make a mid-season trade.

So who do you think will be the Cubs primary second baseman in 2021? Who will play the most innings at second base this upcoming season?

Poll

Who will have the most innings at 2B for the Cubs in 2021?

This poll is closed

  • 54%
    Nico Hoerner
    (99 votes)
  • 34%
    David Bote
    (62 votes)
  • 5%
    Ildemaro Vargas
    (10 votes)
  • 5%
    Someone else (leave in comments)
    (10 votes)
181 votes total Vote Now

We’ll do this again Wednesday night/Thursday morning