How new lefty slugger Michael Busch fits the Chicago Cubs’ offensive needs: ‘He’s going to get an opportunity’

Michael Busch’s whirlwind 72 hours introduced him to Chicago, the place he rapidly obtained to know his new group and Cubs followers.

Busch, traded Thursday from the Los Angeles Dodgers to the Cubs because the headliner in a four-player deal, lauded the graceful transition amid his first style of the fandom through the Cubs Convention. He even participated within the annual kids-only information convention alongside teammates Patrick Wisdom, Adbert Alzolay and Pete Crow-Armstrong. He deftly dealt with the children’ hard-hitting questions that ranged from his favourite coloration (Cubbie pink) to why he selected to wore No. 29 (favored it finest among the many numbers supplied). He even broke out a few dance strikes.

“Thank God ‘The Griddy’ has been around a little bit so I had to do it a couple times before,” a smiling Busch stated afterward.

Only 26, Busch’s potential and energy stroke might rapidly flip him right into a fan favourite. He provides the Cubs precisely what they wanted this offseason: a left-handed energy hitter who can play the nook infield positions. Busch is anticipated to primarily play first base but in addition possesses the pliability to play a number of infield and outfield positions.

Busch didn’t enter the offseason mentally making ready for a commerce, as an alternative specializing in every day and never worrying about issues he can’t management. With the Dodgers transferring Mookie Betts to second base for 2024, it additional clogged the probabilities of normal at-bats within the majors after Busch appeared in 27 video games final season in his first style of the massive leagues.

“Going forward, I just try to take it one step at a time and the competition part of sports, I think is good for people,” Busch stated. “No matter who you are, what you’ve done, just walking into the clubhouse to the locker room to the field every day with that mindset of just getting better that day. At the end of the day, all you can ask for as a player is the opportunity to get out there and show what you’ve been working for and working on the last few years.”

Hitting coach Dustin Kelly represents a pleasant face for Busch.

During Kelly’s three years (2018-20) as a hitting coach within the Dodgers farm system, he labored with Busch, a 2019 first-round decide. When COVID-19 ended 2020 spring coaching prematurely, the Dodgers created small hitting teams and held one to 2 occasions per week in addition to Zoom requires video classes. Busch was among the many hitters in Kelly’s group. From March till July, Kelly and Busch chatted roughly 10 occasions a month. After the minor-league season was canceled, Busch was a part of the Dodgers’ alternate camp website the place Kelly labored with the hitters.

“Any time anybody that you know makes the big leagues, you’re super happy for them and proud of them,” Kelly instructed the Tribune on Saturday. “But there was a little extra special feeling for it just because we had spent so much time that year together.”

Busch stated his swing hasn’t modified a ton since he final labored with Kelly, although he figures it might need advanced slightly over the past three years.

“He’s adapted to every level,” Kelly stated. “I believe that’s what’s going to occur now within the huge leagues is when he will get his alternative to get some constant at-bats, you’ll see him make some little modifications with the rate and pitch shapes and what all people goes by means of.

“But it’s such a compact, simple, repeatable swing that as a hitting coach, you just love to see guys like that. There’s not a ton of moving parts for things to go wrong, and he just has that natural ability to hit.”

Busch hasn’t sacrificed his plate method to promote out for energy, posting a .431 on-base proportion in 469 plate appearances at Triple A in 2023. He was named the Pacific Coast League Most Valuable Player.

Part of that success stems from a stable two-strike method. Busch isn’t afraid to hit with two strikes and is keen to regulate in these spots as wanted. He might want to maintain his strikeout price down, sitting at 33.3% in his small big-league pattern measurement of 81 plate appearances.

Kelly lauded Busch’s plate self-discipline and what he chooses to swing at within the strike zone.

“He doesn’t chase a lot so like a lot of times that put you into some deeper counts at times because he doesn’t end the at-bat as early as some other guys might because they put the ball in play a little bit earlier,” Kelly stated. “But he’ll take a few of these borderline pitches. He’ll take some pitches which might be within the zone and nonetheless strikes however possibly not essentially what he was in search of and that’s only a testomony to his maturity and actually his confidence of what he can do.

“We’re all confident that he can hit and he’s going to hit it at this level. There may be a little bit of an adjustment like there is for a lot of guys that get their feet wet in the big leagues, but he fits the profile exactly of what our offense needs.”

The Cubs are anticipated to present Busch ample probabilities to be an on a regular basis fixture within the lineup after he “conquered” the minors, supervisor Craig Counsell defined Saturday. It’s a great likelihood following the restricted path to the majors in Los Angeles.

“It’s time for him to get major-league at-bats,” Counsell stated. “I mean, pressure, this is how it works, right? You’ve got to perform. Players want opportunities. He’s going to get an opportunity.”