Happy Crosstown Classic Weekend Pt. II, Bears fans! While it hasn’t necessarily been a season to remember for the Cubs or White Sox, one thing is for sure. The Bears have been out in full force in both the north and south side of the city, keeping the positive vibes going for what was a major step in the right direction last season. Khalil Mack and Anthony Miller have made stops at Wrigley Field while Mitch Trubisky, Cody Whitehair, Charles Leno Jr., James Daniels and most recently (to steal from a baseball term) skipper Matt Nagy took to the mound at Guaranteed Rate Field. The reigning NFL Coach of the Year proved just how incredible of an athlete he is, gunning a 98ish mile-per-hour fastball to home plate.
With so many members of the Monsters of the Midway hitting up the baseball diamond this summer (and more to presumably make way), it got me thinking. How would the Bears field up in America’s pastime?
There aren’t any rules or qualifications for how these positions were determined, solely based upon my knowledge of the players themselves and where I think they would fit well. Let’s get to it.
Full disclosure, I’m a diehard Cubs fan so we’re going to mold the Bears lineup as if they’re taking the field at Wrigley (as they did in the 1900s anyway) but add a DH because pitchers batting in the modern era makes no sense.
Let’s meet your Chicago Bears starting nine!
At second base and batting first, Tarik Cohen: If I had to clone Javier Baez into a football player it’s nobody else other than Cohen. His agility, swagger and open mindset would insert perfectly into the top of the order. Throw in his outrageous speed and charisma, Cohen would be a huge threat on the base paths as well.
Projected Stat-line: .323 / 7 HRS / 74 RBI, 29 SB’s
Commanding short stop and batting second, Kyle Fuller: If there is one trait that defines the great short stops in baseball’s illustrious history, it’s the ability to read and react to hits before they happen. Derek Jeter was one of the best to utilize this ability, and with Fuller needing to pick up on opposing quarterback progressions the left side of the field would play to his advantage. Placing him near the top of the order isn’t necessarily locked in for the 162 game season, given his sporadic stretches of play.
Projected Stat-Line: .279 / 13 HRS / 66 RBI
Batting Third, the First Baseman Kyle Long : Dependable, leadership, slugger. These are a few of the traits needed out of any star first baseman. At a staggering 6-foot-6, Long would be serviceable in the field as he really would have no excuse for any ball to sail over his head. The 316 pounds screams modern day slugger, simply a player that will either hit towering home runs over Sheffield and Waveland or strike out.
Projected Stat-Line: .258 / 38 HRS / 94 RBI
Batting Clean-Up, The Designated Hitter Khalil Mack: This one is an absolute no brainer. We all know that Mack is an outrageous athlete that if he really wanted to could probably play professionally in any sport. However, in our make-shift Bears’ baseball world, I want him to exclusively craft his game around hitting 80 home runs a year. There is nothing better than when a franchise player becomes synonymous for putting the fear of death into opposing pitchers, which Mack would do effortlessly.
Projected Stat-Line: .275 / 41 HRS / 109 RBI
In the five-hole is catcher Mitchell Trubisky: I know, I know. Why not a pitcher? I’ll tell you why. Trubisky would be among the elite in the league at taking down opposing baserunners attempting to steal with his arm, and as a play caller in the NFL he has experience in making decisions on the fly that would help instruct pitchers to throw the right pitches. His 6-foot-3, 222 pound frame is the sole reason why I put him up in the middle of the order.
Projected Stat-Line: .252 / 21 HRS / 77 RBI
Standing in center field and batting sixth is Ha Ha Clinton-Dix: A major free agent name that is among the elite in making big time defensive plays and a freak athlete, Clinton-Dix is our Jason Heyward. He’s a Swiss-army knife type player with blistering speed to get great jumps on hard hit balls and can swing the bat when necessary. Hopefully he can make some good speeches in the locker room too.
Projected Stat-Line : .261 / 19 HRS / 61 RBI
At lucky No. 7 is third baseman Eddie Jackson: The former Alabama defensive back made a variety of remarkable defensive plays last season, which would be required of him down in the “hot corner.” Like Fuller, the ability to react quickly and make decisions about where to go before the ball is even hit is in Jackson’s DNA. His production at the beginning of the bottom third of the order is of the upmost importance.
Projected Stat-Line: .278 / 14 HRS / 55 RBI
Starting in right field and swinging eighth is right fielder Allen Robinson II: A-Rob is the prodigal farm system talent that we all hope and expect to become a superstar. There have been flashes throughout his tenure but the consistency hasn’t been there yet. He’s too good to not be in the lineup everyday, and at the bottom of the order there is slightly more room to breathe. His 6-foot-3 frame and top-end speed would allow him to make incredible highlight-reel type plays out in right.
Projected Stat-Line: .243 / 20 HRS / 83 RBI
Finally, batting ninth is left fielder Anthony Miller: I’m a huge proponent of putting someone who can not only swing the bat well but be a threat on the bases too in the nine hole. Imagine Miller, a player that would certainly be built more for contact hitting than power, hitting a four-footer down the line and beating the catcher’s throw by more than a few seconds. Then he takes two jumps off the bag at first and is at second before the pitcher releases the ball. All of a sudden we’ve got a runner in scoring position, and threatening with Tarik Cohen at the plate. Miller’s top-end speed, like his other outfielders, would give him an opportunity to make great jumps on almost ball hit within the left field radius.
Projected Stat-Line: .296 / 8 HRS / 74 RBI, 38 SB’s
Ace: Pat O’Donnell: The Bears’ punter has a true pitcher’s frame at 6-foot-4 and 217 pounds. He has little to no fear when multiple gargantuan human beings try to come and block or tackle him in the backfield, which leads me to believe he’d do just fine at headlining our pitching staff. Maybe he’d kick a few pitches, too.
Closer: Chase Daniel: The last thing that you want out of a closer is inconsistency. It’s true-Daniel is by no means the flashy player that will draw major attention, and that’s OK. You know what your going to get out of the former Missouri Tiger (I’m a Mizzou alum, either he or Emanuel Hall was going to get in here) and that keeps the nerves low for not only fans but the team as well.
By the way, two months till the season starts...