THE SIGNIFICANCE OF TOMMY LA STELLA’S UPCOMING RETURN

The trade that brought in 2nd/3rd baseman Tommy La Stella was one of my favorites in recent memory. Despite being a bit old for 2015 to be just his 2nd season in the major leagues (26), he showed promise in his major league debut and has had a solid minor league career.

In his 2014 debut as a whole, Tommy La Stella posted sub-par numbers with the Braves, slashing a .251/.328/.317. What he had working for him was his walk rate (10%) and his extremely low K rate (11.1%). While Tommy showed little to no power (.66 ISO) in his debut, Tommy displayed his ability to make consistent contact, hit the ball to every field, and get on base.

What he had working against him was a moderately low BABIP, especially in the 2nd half. Tommy hit .292/.371/.357 with a .333 BABIP in the 1st half of last season, followed by a .212/.286/.279 with a .236 BABIP in the 2nd half. It’s likely that neither of those lines were sustainable, the truth lying somewhere in the middle.

With Chris Coghlan currently covering 2nd base and Starlin Castro out of the starting lineup, I expect to see La Stella receive a decent amount of playing time once he’s back. It’s also nice to know that La Stella hit lefties well in 2014, putting up a .311/.391/.426 against them in 61 at bats.

While is future remains a mystery with the Cubs, I’m excited to find out what he’s capable of. La Stella is currently hitting .318/.375/.409 in AA with just 1 strikeout in 22 at bats. Whether his bat is used off the bench in situations where the Cubs just need someone to make contact or he ends up starting a few games a week is unknown, but on a team that leads all of baseball in strikeouts, it’s pretty clear that there’s a role available for him to fill.

As long as he stays healthy, he could take the place of Matt Szczur (currently taking the place of David Ross) sometime this week.

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