From a journeyman through the Cubs system early in his career, to a 40-man guy entering 2018, top prospect David Bote had come a long way in his career. After hitting .272 (128-for-470) with 14 home runs for Double-A Tennessee in 2017, Bote is preparing for the next step - what ever that may be.
On this spring training:
It's been awesome. It's been a really cool experience. Great guys, great management, great coaches. With Chili [Davis] and [Brian] Butterfield and Andy Haines, who I've known for a couple years now. It's just been an unbelievable experience. I'm taking it all in.
On the turning point of his career:
For me, it was August of 2015 [when the shift happened]. It was the first time I got to play every day in that setting in South Bend. I hit really well and got to play every day. There are a lot of things that happened in that year as well. Then again in 2016 it did start, as previous years in my career did, not playing every day. Being on the DL, going to Iowa, going to Tennessee. So a lot of traveling. Then the second half of '16, things really went off from there. For me, I think it was more of a mental acceptance and also drive at the same time. Accepting where I was and being in the moment. Our mental skills coordinating staff has done a fantastic job. Where ever I'm at, -- whether it's coming off the bench or playing every day, whether it's in Triple-A, whether it's in High-A at that time -- no matter where it was, it's taking each at-bat as if it's the most important at-bat. Which it is. So each at-bat, each day is the most important day. You can't look forward and you can't look back. You can always learn from your experiences and you can also look forward to things, but when you're in that game and that moment, that pitch, that day, that at-bat is the only thing that matters. To be able to hone that in was, for me, kind of when things got going.....What I could control, I did and things kind of worked out.
On being added to the Cubs 40-man roster this offseason:
I was actually at my brother's house. We knew it was that day [cutoff before the Rule 5 draft] and it was an hour two before. I wasn't expecting, but I was hoping. It was a realistic opportunity is kind of how I was approaching it. I was sitting there and I saw Jaron's [Madison] name pop up on my phone and I was like, 'Wow, here it is.' It was a really cool moment. I had my wife there and my brother and his family. My brother has been on this road with me as much as anybody had. He is kind of living it through me at the same time. He has the same hat that he got when I was drafted and he wears it all the time. It's kind of like - it's a depiction of my career. It's dirty, rugged, been through it all. When the debut happens, he'll get a new hat. So it was a really cool experience, cool moment to get that phone call. We went out to dinner that night and just enjoyed it for the moment. And then, you have to take a step back and say, 'Ok, well that's just the first step.' You can't get too caught up on that because anything can happen. So more of taking it as a first step to what's next. Coming to spring training and showcasing what I can do. Everything. Being a good teammate, being a hard worker, performing, playing your positions, whatever Joe [Maddon] asks you to do, do it. Obviously the end goal is be in the big leagues, staying in the big league and win a World Series. It was fun to get that phone call and enjoy it for that moment and for a day or so. But that's just one step, it's not the end goal. So to be able to put that in perspective as well and keep that going.
On his offseason:
This year was a little different being in the Fall League. The offseason kind of got - I've had the same offseason for five years. You end the season, you have 2-3 weeks off, then you get back and slowly work into it. With the Fall League, you're playing until mid-November…I took a few days, maybe a week off. My workout regime is pretty strict and my diet is very strict. It's something, in this game especially and all athletics, you don't want to have any regrets. So making those choices to get up every day, go workout, eat the right things is worth not being, 'what if I could have done more? What if I could have done better?' Then we [Bote and his wife] actually came out here [Mesa] a month earlier. We came out in January. So we had December to spend in Colorado, where I stay during the off-season, and then finished the offseason here. Just being able to get on the field, with the coaches. Chili [Davis] was here, Andy [Haines] was here. Working with Bussy [Tim Buss]. Just to have that feel, get into a routine so when camp starts, you're already in the flow of things.
On his goals for 2018:
I have personal goals. Things where I'd like to go, that I'd like to do myself. Just showcase who I am. It's very easy to get away from that. There are times where I have, and I have been able to catch myself recently and been able to get back to who Bote is. Don't try to be someone you're not. Off the field and on the field. Especially on the field. [I'm surrounded by] Unbelievable talent, unbelievable hard workers, unbelievable lineup. The whole club here is amazing. They're not asking me to be anyone else. They like what Bote brings to the table, so be him. So don't change that. That's one goal. Obviously, be ready for any situation. If they ask for a squeeze, you can do it. If they ask you to come off the bench, you're ready to do it. If they ask you to start, be ready. Obviously in the season you'd like to be in the big leagues, but that's something I can't control. What I can control is going to the field every day ready to play. Whether that's in Double-A or Triple-A or Rookie ball. Whatever happens. Coming to the field with a good attitude, ready to work and have good at-bats. Then whatever is going to happen will happen. That's always been my attitude.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.