The Cubs MInor League Spring Training begins in the next week. It will not get the fanfare of the big league camp, but there are some things to watch and examine. Most of the excitement is just about players returning from injury, but one new guy’s emergence could set the camp on fire.
- Eddy Martinez is the headline attraction this spring. What everyone will be examining is the bat and the power in that bat. His fielding, speed, and arm are not in question. Martinez is supposed to stay in rookie league all summer to acclimate to the US. It will be interesting to see his bat in action and if that bat will that press the issue of promotion.
- Dylan Cease is probably not going to be set free this year. That will come in 2017. This year his pitch and inning limits will probably double from 30 to 60 pitches and from 3 to 5 innings.I think he begins the year in extended spring training a while before heading out to South Bend when it warms up in May.
- Will Remillard is returning to catching after a year off after having Tommy John surgery. I imagine he will be in extended spring training until it warms up. The former Midwest League All-Star will have an interesting return from TJS considering he is a catcher.
- Ian Happ – The move to second base is one everyone saw coming. The question this spring is how well he does in the field. I don’t think anyone questions his bat…at all. If he can stick at second, his bat makes him an All-Star.
- Preston Morrison – I think he is extremely advanced. In fact, I think low A is beneath in him, and high A might be as well. He could end up being fast tracked like Dave Berg and end up in Tennessee by the middle of the year. That might be extreme, but it is not out of the question or the realm of possibility.
- Eloy Jimenenz – HRs. I want to see him hit mammoth shots over the left center fence all day, every day. It might not be possible, but yet I yearn for it. Out of all the prospects at low A South Bend, he is the one I look forward to seeing the most. I think this year will be a very special year for him.
- Kwang-Min Kwon – The home run derby champion of fall instructs is only 18 and will be making his Cubs debut in 2016. It will be interesting to see how he does and whether he is assigned to rookie league or Eugene. He is likely to play 1B or LF.
- Adbert Alzolay – This dude can pitch. Will it be as reliever or a starter? He’s heading for South Bend and I think his chance of starting is much better this year than last.
- Kyle Twomey – I love what he can do. He’s big tall, gangly, and wiry, and his body looks like it going to fly apart when he pitches. There’s a lot there to distract a hitter. He had a good first stint as a Cub last summer at Eugene and I think he picks up right where he left off. Along with Carson Sands, Justin Steele, Oscar De La Cruz, Ryan Kellogg, and maybe Adbert Alzolay, the rotation at South Bend is going to destroy the Midwest League.
- Wladimir Galindo – He’s only 19. He can rake. Problem is he can’t stay healthy. Playing in short season Eugene will be a nice place for his mammoth potential to drive the ball to all fields. He could play 3B, 1B, or the OF. I am not sure where. Spring training will give us a glimpse into what he can do and where he can do it.
Yonathan Sierra, Aramis Ademan, Yonathan Perlaza, and other international free agent signings from last summer will be in camp. It should be interesting to see how these young 17 year old kids do in the states. In the Epstein Era, the high priced international free agents, for the most part, begin their careers in the Arizona Rookie League. I expect that to continue again this year.
*Ed. Note – 3 Parts of this piece appeared last weekend on Cubs Insider.