After a break out 2017 season at Double-A for the Cubs, Bote has worked his way into the Big League conversation and is looking like he could provide a huge return for an 18th Round investment. A big, thick bodied kid, Bote is a much better athlete than you first may think. Bote has always had good gap power, as evident by the 20 and 26 doubles he put up in 2015 and 2016 respectively. But in 2017, his first full season at the Double-A level, he posted 30 doubles to go with 14 long-balls – seven more than his previous career best (7, 2013 and 2016). In addition to that, Bote showed improvement in both his strikeout rate (20% to 18.9%) and walk rate (8.3% to 9.2%) between 2016 and 2017, making for encouraging offensive trends as he continues to work his way up the ladder.
Bote has a fairly compact stroke with above-average bat speed and does a nice job keeping the barrel in the zone. His balance at the plate in the Fall League has been excellent, showing his ability to keep his hands back and drive the ball to right field and right-center – something that likely comes as no surprise to Cubs personnel, as 22 of Bote’s 47 extra base hits in the regular season were from center field to right field. He has continued to excel in Arizona, posting a .986 OPS and .444 OBP through the Fall Stars game.
Defensively, Bote can hold his own at third base, catching what he can get to and sporting an above-average arm, but ultimately it is likely the bat that will have to carry the profile. He has played all over the diamond since his draft year in 2012, but saw the bulk of his time at second base in 2017, while also seeing significant time at first base and both corner outfield spots. Bote was surprisingly agile around the bag at second and shows average range to his left with plenty of arm strength on the double-play turns. His grinder mentality fits well with the role the Cubs see for him moving forward, so if these offensive trends continue, Bote contributing in the big leagues could be a very real possibility at some point in 2018.