It is getting close…two weeks until the season starts. And as I sat down to watch this afternoon’s game, I was in awe of the sun and green grass. It really warmed my heart after this harshest of winters. On the TV, the game was not so warm when it came to the Cubs. Here are a few thoughts:
1. The Cubs have a lot of players still in camp that are not very good. Tsuyoshi Wada is not very good. I was not impressed at all. The light hitting Mets lit him up for three runs in the first.
2. Anthony Rizzo hit two home runs and his swing looks great!!! The problem was there was hardly anyone else on base.
3. I watched Javy Baez swing and miss several times. Bartolo Colon owned him and so did Ryan Reid. Baez rolled over to hit a weak grounder in his first at bat. Baez on 3-2 struck out looking against Reid on a fastball. Clearly, Baez was thinking breaker, but Reid fooled him. I don’t think this is alarming. At every level Baez has played at the last two years, he has to make adjustments. The majors is no different. The problem for him is there is getting to be a book, even in spring training, on how to attack him. With Castro still out, Baez will still see a lot of playing time – even some at second base this next week.
4. Carlos Pimentel tore it up by striking out 4 in 2 and 2/3 innings. Zac Rosscup, not so much. He looked horrid. See #1.
5. Kris Bryant did not get to hit, but he did get in the game.
6. The Cubs split squad won against Kansas City as Bret Jackson’s batting average crossed the Mendoza line (.231) and he drove in 5 runs today. There is still hope for him. As for Josh Vitters, his batting average has begun to slip.
Other Random Notes
Mike Olt has not played much third base but he had a two homer night on Wednesday. I think we should see a lot of him at third this next week. The Luis Valbuena and Darwin Barney eras could be ending very soon.
What I am looking to see this week
1. Lots of cuts – With 53 players still in the major league camp, about 15-20 of them will be gone by the end of this week (23rd). As the games are now being televised, I really don’t want to see some of the flotsam and jetsam that is being trotted out there. It makes me sad to watch these guys who are just taking up a roster spot for a year down in Iowa until the prospects begin lining up.
2. Kyle Hendricks – I like what he was able to do starting against major leaguers. Now that Kyle has seen what he has to work on, I think he will go back to the minor league camp and make the appropriate adjustments to be ready for a callup this year.
3. Eric Jokisch – You can put him in the same category as Hendricks. I like what I have seen from him. Very good location, goes after hitters, doesn’t dance around the corner, nor does he nibble.
4. Edwin Jackson – my least favorite Cub needs to throw something besides fastballs this next week.
5. Jason Hammel – He has had a good spring. I kind of like what he does and how he goes about it. I think another good start will assure me he was a good signing.
6. Someone needs to step up and take the 5th starter spot while Arrieta is down. No one has done it. James McDonald has been terrible and Chris Rusin has had a bad spring. Hendricks and Jokisch are still aways away. And Wada…ugh. I like Jason Grimm but he seems to be in a bullpen grooming mode.
7. Sort the bullpen situation out a little more. Where will Arodys Vizcaino land? Hopefully, Chicago, but my ears are hearing Iowa.