James Triantos – Picture by Stephanie Lynn

Heading into the 2023 season, one of the players, I look forward to seeing most in South Bend is infielder James Triantos. The soon to be 20-year-old will be one of the youngest players in the Midwest league. I am looking forward to seeing him in practice quite a bit. I want to see him how he handles third base and just exactly how good his arm is at that corner. In addition, I look forward to seeing how he handles batting practice.

Triantos burst onto the scene in 2021 as the Cubs second round draft pick. He showed up in Arizona and displayed a penchant for hitting and hitting with power early on.  His 2022 season could best be described as a roller coaster. His monthly splits were all over the place as he wound up hitting .272 with 7 home runs and 50 driven in to go along with 20 stolen bases. He hit .260 in April and then turned it on in May to hit .337 before plummeting to .222 in June. His average bounced back a little bit in July as he hit .241 in August. In September, he was dominant hitting .393.

As you can see, he was all over the map.

Here are five things I’d like to see from him in 2023

1. Don’t Try to Do Too Much

Being a second round pick carries its own set of expectations from fans and journalists. But the player also carries their own expectations. Triantos did not strike out much in high school and it was a big adjustment to go from high school to rookie ball to Class A. Last year he faced a much higher level of competition than he’d seen before. Just because a player can put their bat on the ball does not mean who can swing at it. We saw Triantos make a lot of bad decisions at the plate and in the field that he probably regretted as soon as he did them. He just needs to stay within himself. He needs to show a good approach at the plate and to stick to the fundamentals in the field by using good footwork and not overthrowing the baseball to first.

2. Power

If he can achieve goal number one, he’s going to swing at better pitches which will result in more power. While he did hit seven home runs last year, he’s going to hit more just from playing in the Midwest League where the ball is going to fly a lot better in the middle of May onward.

3. Stick to the Plan

The hardest part about being a professional baseball player for a 19-year-old kid is that a 134 game season is a long freaking time. It’s a mental grind, it’s a physical grind, and that wears upon a young kid who is away from home constantly. While Triantos did play at Myrtle Beach all year, he spent half the time on the road sleeping in strange beds and learning that he needs to take care of himself both physically and mentally without his parents around to remind him of that.

4. Numbers

-I don’t really having any expectations in terms of home runs, or RBIs, or batting average for him in 2023. I just would like to see those numbers to be consistent. It might actually be a good thing that he struggled a bit in 2022 and learned to adapt. He’s going to be 20-years-old and facing a lot more college pitchers this year than last. Most teams in the Midwest League do not play in the Carolina League except for the Brewers affiliate in Appleton and the Royals affiliates in the Quad Cities. He’s going to be facing a whole new set of arms this year.

5. Enjoy Being 20

While I have talked about work and consistency and adapting in this post, it is of the utmost importance that Triantos have fun playing. Seek out fun and embrace it because it will be a long season.

I’m really looking forward to seeing him play because the potential is definitely there. If he gets off to a hot start, I don’t know if Greg Zumach will be able to contain himself in our chat and message board.

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