By Todd Johnson
Spring training this year is a little bit different. First, there might be only one roster spot up in the air for position players. Second, the bullpen is wide open along with who will be the fifth and or sixth starter.
For me, Joe Maddon made a comment earlier in the week that kind of summed up an objective the Cubs might have for the spring. That objective is to identify the next group of position players that can come up and help. Yes, Eloy is there. Ian Happ is also in camp getting a lot of reps with the big league club. But I think two players who could actually help out this year are Chesney Young and Mark Zagunis. Their impressive hit tools are going to get them to the major leagues even as utility players.
The starters, like always, only played a little bit yesterday. Most of the big names just got one at-bat. As a result, the minor league guys got a lot of at-bats and innings. The big hitters were Eloy (1-3), Chris Dominguez (2-3), Charcer Burks (GW HR), and Matt Szczur (1-2, 2 RBIs). On the pitching side, Jack Leathersich and Stephen Perakslis, and Felix Pena looked good in relief. Starters Rob Zastryzny and Mike Montgomery did well as neither allowed a run in an innings apiece. Although, Montgomery walked 2. It was the first game of spring training. I wouldn’t put too much stock in the competition for starter spots just yet. Wait until they get stretched out to go 5 innings. However, I think the bullpen spots and bench spots are full on competitions from the get go.
I did see Eloy say that he was trying to make the roster. Good for him. It is highly unlikely he makes it, in fact, it’s extremely unlikely. Still, you have to like his attitude.
Minor-league players will officially arrive over the next week. It will be interesting to see how they are grouped and sorted. Here are a few names to keep an eye on this week: Duane Underwood, Zach Hedges, Eddy Martinez, Aramis Ademan, Isaac Paredes, Thomas Hatch, Dylan Cease, Oscar de la Cruz, and Jose Paulino.
Major League Baseball is eliminating the need for pitchers to pitch an intentional walk. My thoughts….zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. This rule does absolutely nothing. Nothing.
However, Javy’s tattoo makes life worth living
— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) February 25, 2017
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