The Chicago Cubs think they have their second base position figured out for the 2020 season. Cubs beat writer Jordan Bastion took to Twitter on Saturday to explain that the starting spot will see a split between two players who are relative newcomers — Jason Kipnis and Nico Hoerner. Kipnis is a newcomer to the team, signing as a free agent this offseason. Hoerner is a bit of a newby to the Major Leagues, getting his first Big League at-bats towards the end of the 2019 season and eventually appearing in 20 games.
The Cub’s manager confirmed the duo would see the majority of plate appearances at second base after the team’s intrasquad workout, as part of their ongoing efforts to ramp up for the regular season.
MLB is staging an abbreviated “spring training” this month, where teams are largely having scrimmages in order to avoid exposure to members of outside teams. During those intrasquad workouts, the Cubs have seen enough from the pair to convince the front office they can platoon at the position for the 60-game schedule.
Brett Taylor of Bleacher Nation said the announcement also seemed to cement the roles of two other players who had been competing for playing time.
Veteran infielder Daniel Descalso was signed during the 2019 offseason and the Cubs had hoped he would play well enough over the course of his two-year contract that it would never be a question as to who was the second baseman. Instead, Descalso hit just 0.173 in 82 appearances. While he did get the bulk of the playing time early in the year, he was largely used as the last player off the bench towards the end of 2019.
Another utility man, David Bote, had also come into 2020 trying to win a starting spot, according to Taylor. The decision by Cubs manager David Ross and the rest of the team’s brain trust indicates Bote will again predominantly be a reserve bat. The analyst did say the veteran will get plenty of playing time, it just won’t be at one position. He’s played all over the infield — including first base — since being called up in 2018.
After confirming Kipnis and Hoerner will be the starters at second, Ross did talk about how much he liked the options the Cubs have this summer. There are several players in addition to Bote who can play several positions quite well. He added that will come in handy in what he said will be an abnormal 2020 campaign.