By Todd Johnson
The rites of Spring are upon us.The Cubs’ minor league camp will be in full gear this week. Normally, I would begin publishing minor league previews during the first week of March. But this year is different.
The main reason for the delay is that I have no idea of who is playing where when it comes to Tennessee and Iowa. A lot of that has to do with a number of minor-league signings this past winter. Most of them were pitchers, but there are a few position players like Chris Dominguez.
I could take a stab at who is going to be in Myrtle Beach and South Bend, but I think the added depth at AA and AAA will create a lot of competition throughout the minor-league portion of camp.
So, before things begin to play out in Mesa, here are 10 things I will be thinking about as the minor league camp begins.
One – Chesney Young – he got a nice write up in a profile by Carrie Muskat on MLB.com yesterday. I still think he will be in Chicago later this summer.
Three – Eloy – The man child is two for five this spring in two games with the big league club. I think he’s taking this “making the club thing” very, very seriously.
Four – Jose Albertos – I am extremely excited to see him make his spring training debut, even if it is in an intrasquad game.
Five – Ian Happ – I want to see how he does spending most of the camp with the major-league squad. Then, in his transition back to minor league ball, I think he takes a step forward in his development as a result of spending time with the big boys.
Six – Eddy Martinez – I am excited to see if he just begins to pound the ball the spring. Taking two years off probably had some effect on him just as much as the length of last season did.
Seven – Erling Moreno – as he gets ready to make his full-season debut, his performances this spring could dictate a short or a long stay at South Bend.
Eight – Oscar de la Cruz – I wonder if he’s fully recovered from missing the first half of 2016. If he comes out throwing around 95 to 97, he is not going to be in Myrtle Beach very long.
Nine – Thomas Hatch – The man no one has seen in game action will soon be seen in game action. I can’t wait!
Ten – Trades – at some point over the next 4 to 4 1/2 months, I am pretty sure the Cubs are going to make a trade to acquire either a starting pitcher or another bullpen alarm. With several players blocked in the minor leagues, it would not surprise me to see the Cubs pull the trigger as early as April if they get the right deal. To me, that right deal might be another prospect for prospect trade.