As Rule 5-eligible this offseason, David Bote entered the Arizona Fall League campaign with plenty to prove -- either to the Chicago Cubs or any of the other MLB organizations. He's achieving that right out of the gate.
The Cubs infield prospect has been named the AFL's first Player of the Week for 2017 after a dominant four-game stretch in which he went 8-for-16 (.500) with three homers, six RBIs and five runs scored for the Mesa Solar Sox. He led the circuit in hits, home runs and total bases (17), while his 1.063 slugging percentage and 1.618 OPS were also tops among qualifiers.
Bote's biggest day was arguably his first as he went 3-for-4 with a three-run homer in a 9-4 win last Wednesday against Scottsdale. Logan Hill, Josh Naylor and Sheldon Neuse were the only other Fall Leaguers to go deep more than once during the AFL's first week.
The 24-year-old, right-handed slugger hasn't slowed down in Week 2 either, going 2-for-2 with a double in Monday's 2-0 loss to Glendale.
An 18th-round pick by the Cubs out of Neosho County (Kansas) Community College in 2012, Bote showed flashes of power this summer at Double-A Tennessee with a career-high 14 home runs in 127 games. He produced a .272/.353/.438 line and earned a spot on the Southern League mid- and post-season All-Star teams -- all while reaching triple digits in games played for the first time in his career.
Offseason MiLB include
Bote has shown defensive versatility during his six seasons in the Cubs system. While he's been used primarily as a second baseman, he's played every defensive position other than catcher at least once, including stepping on the mound on five occasions. He's made four starts at second base with the Solar Sox and one at third so far.
The Cubs would need to add Bote to their 40-man roster before Nov. 20 or risk losing him in December's Rule 5 Draft, meaning he'd get a chance to compete for a Major League spot. Of course, a continued hot start in the AFL would continue to build his case with Chicago as well.
"It's something I can't control at all," Bote told MLB.com. "My control is my preparation, what I want to do in my work and everything like that. Obviously, you catch yourself daydreaming about it, but it's more of a like 'see it happening' versus a 'dwelling on it.'
"It's just … about control. What I can control."