Spring Training Random News and Notes – Part 4

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While the big league camp dealt with issues of a blister, bees, and Heyward and Fowler’s discussion of a strike, minor league camp went about its business quietly this week. There were a lot of games played against the Angels, Rangers, and A’s affiliates. In addition to practice, a more complete picture is emerging of some prospects who are having very good camps. The actual minor league season begins on Thursday April 7 for AAA, AA, high A, and low A teams.

Here are some random thoughts about some prospects who are doing well.

With that in mind…
Trevor Clifton could become the man this year. He has to take it one start at a time, stay on top of his curve, get the leadoff hitter out…you know, the basics of pitching
Bryan Hudson is a surprise this spring. He is better than thought and he is developing faster than expected. His fastball is creeping into the low 90s, up from 86 when drafted.
Dylan Cease – He has been the big story of camp this year. 97-100 mph every start will get that attention.
Zach Hedges’ debut was solid. 2 scoreless innings was a good start to the year. I wonder if he stays in the pen or starts this year?
Eloy Jimenez – Eloy does what Eloy does and it is beautiful. Saturday, he hit a homerun. I am counting the days until I see him live in Davenport on April 26 ~ 30 days left.
maples 66 st 2016Dillon Maples ditched the curve and is now throwing a slider. The former Pitching God from Boise stayed healthy last year and came into camp in good shape. As reliever, he may have found his calling. ESPN columnist Eric Longenhagen said this of Maples:

And finally, right-handed pitcher Dillon Maples sat 94-95 mph with a good amount of natural cut and flashed a plus slider.

Wladimir Galindo – The kid will rake. It is not a question of if, but when. The Cubs have been playing him up a couple of levels this spring and he has held his own. Can’t wait to see him get going.
Carlos Sepulveda – Like Gleyber, he might be playing up at South Bend at a very young age. It might be a little hard for him skipping short season Eugene. I am not worried about his glove, if he does, I am more concerned about his bat.
Donnie Dewees – I think he fell out of bed and got a triple this morning.
Rashad Crawford – He has finally added onto his thin frame with some muscle this offseason. It seems to be agreeing with him at the plate and he hasn’t lost a step in the OF.
Junior Marte – He is still quite young, but he has looked great. He should be in the AZL after spring training. However, he might skip rookie league and go right to Eugene. At 20 years old, he’d be fine there.
Victor Caratini – He has been driving liners all over the field. Looks like he finally has arrived since coming over from Atlanta.
Jake Hannemann, David Bote, Will Remillard, Cael Brockmeyer – All four got off the bus hitting. Hannemann has looked good playing with the big leaguers. All he has lacked is a consistency at the plate the past two years. Bote had a great second half and has picked up where he left off last year. Brockmeyer has mainly been with the big league camp and looks great behind the plate. Remillard has been catching, playing first, and doing some DH. The bat returned pretty quickly. It will be interesting to see how he does behind the plate once the season begins.

Players of the Week
3.27.16

Pitcher – Trevor Clifton – 4 IP of one hit ball with 4 Ks. Word is he looks more confident and relaxed on the mound. As I like to say, “Rock and fire, baby, rock and fire!”
Reliever – Scott Frazier is looking good every outing. He did not allow a run this week. The big righty, who had a case of the yips in 2014, looks to be slowly heading back. The Cubs seems to be taking their time with him, both physically and mentally. He should be in the pen at South Bend this year.
Hitter – Donnie Dewees – The young guy just keeps on getting on base. If he isn’t raking, he’s getting walks. His OBP for the spring has to be close to .500. This is his second week in a row in winning the award.

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At one point this spring, the Cubs had over 307 players signed for their nine teams. There will be some more cuts later this week. The Cubs did release nine minor leaguers Saturday. The most notable were Austyn Willis and Jordan Hankins. I was a little stunned to see Willis released at such a young age (20). I guess my first clue should have been when he was left behind in the AZL last year while Sands and Steele went to Eugene. Hankins, on the other hand, was a Midwest League All-Star just two short years ago at Kane County. Also released were Matt Brazis, Matt Clark, Donnie Cimino, Heath Dwyer, Nick Greenwood, Santiago Rodriguez, and Sam Wilson. Best of luck to them. Most ofthe other cuts will be at the AAA and AA levels.

Only one more weekly spring training post left. That felt good to type as I am ready for the regular season to begin.

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