How a former Cubs slugger helped shape prospect James Triantos’ path
James Triantos understands one very important key to success: Listening.
The 2021 Cubs 2nd-round pick was already enjoying a stellar career at James Madison High School in Vienna, Va., when he had the opportunity to hit with Kyle Schwarber at the beginning of his senior year.
Schwarber — who hit 121 homers with the Cubs over an illustrious 6-year career — played with the Nationals in D.C. in the first half of last year and left Triantos with some valuable advice.
“I’ve gotten everything from him,” Triantos told Marquee Sports Network’s Lance Brozdowski from the Cubs minor league camp earlier this month in Arizona. “He made me think about it. I went in thinking that there was something wrong with my swing. I was like, ‘do you see anything mechanically wrong with my swing?’ And he was like, ‘your swing is good. You have no problems with your swing. It’s your approach.’
“And he talked to me about when I get in the box or off the tee or in front toss/BP, I want to make sure that I get my A swing off every single time. And getting in the box, I want to look to get a pitch that I can get my A swing off on. That type of stuff has really helped me because the more I focused on getting my best swing off, the more pitches that I could really get my best swing off on. The more I expanded it, the better I hit.”
Schwarber also advised Triantos on how to stay within himself and adjust to the quality of opponent as he rises through the Cubs system.
“He did reiterate to me it’s my swing, it’s my career,” Triantos said. “I have a lot of say in what I’m gonna do. Just being mature enough to take it in my own hands and understand that if I want my dreams to come true, I’m going to have to work for it. That type of stuff.
“I know that I’m willing to work for everything I want to accomplish. So as long as I put my head down right now and keep doing my work, I’ll be just fine, I believe.”
Triantos parlayed that advice into a high draft pick and has earned some buzz this winter as one of the top young hitters in the game. Baseball Prospectus ranked the 19-year-old as the 101st overall prospect in baseball.
After he was drafted and signed, Triantos played 25 games with the Cubs in the Arizona Complex League last fall. He hit .327 with a .970 OPS, 6 homers and 19 RBI in 109 plate appearances.
He moved around the diamond, playing 8 games at second base, 7 at shortstop and started 10 games at designated hitter.
As he heads into his first full professional season, Triantos is keeping things simple.
“I know what I can do, I know what I’m capable of and I just want to stick to that, stick to being me and not trying to be someone else,” he said. “I’ve worked really hard to get to this point to be ready for the season. I’m just really excited. I love playing baseball.”