A year ago yesterday, there was a much warmer reception for a newly-arrived little cub named Clark. That would be my son, Clark, who is one-year-and-one-day old, but his big ole first birthday shindig is today. He is neat, and I like him very much.
- Kris Bryant was the talk of the post-game yesterday, after his long first Spring at-bat ended in a monster homer to deep center field. You can see his thoughts on the debut in many places, including Cubs.com. Bryant said he wasn’t nervous, and is just trying have fun with a smile on his face. And then he summed it up perfectly: “I’ve just been blessed with power, and I’m putting it to use.” I kind of want that quote tattooed on my forehead. May Bryant’s power bless Cubs fans for years to come.
- If you missed Bryant’s bomb yesterday, you can see video of it here, by the way. And you should probably ignore that this is the guy off of whom Bryant went deep.
- But as the prospect gods giveth with one powerful third baseman, they take away with another. It’s a reminder that bad things can happen at the drop of a hat (though this one was kind of previewed by some injury issues last year): big-time Minnesota Twins prospect Miguel Sano, he who adorns the cover of the 2014 Baseball America Prospect Handbook, is going to have Tommy John surgery after experience persistent discomfort in his elbow. Sano, 20, has been a top prospect for his entire time in the minors, and had a chance of contributing at the big league level this year after reaching AA in 2013. Given the Twins’ rebuild and projected timeline for competitiveness, losing Sano this year is very much analogous to the Cubs losing Bryant for the year. So, you can imagine how much this sucks for Twins fans.
- Fortunately, Tommy John surgery for positional players isn’t quite as time-intensive as for pitchers, an Sano could see some at bats late in the minor league season. He’ll likely not be able to play third base again until next year, if at all, however.
- A profile on Matt Szczur from Mark Gonzales. Always more athlete than baseball player, Szczur has worked hard to improve his defense to the point that now I think it’s probably fair to say he could be a quality defensive outfielder at any of the three spots. The question for Szczur is whether he’ll ever be able to hit enough to take advantage of his speed and defense, and find a job on a big league bench (a starting gig is not out of the question, but seems like a long-shot – Szczur hit .281/.350/.367 at AA last year with a .320 BABIP, a 13.1% K rate, and an 8.7% walk rate). Having been on the 40-man since late 2011, Szczur is in his third (of four) option year, and is already 24. He’ll get his first taste of AAA this year, and it could be a make or break year. You can see the great 4th outfielder in there. He’s just gotta hit a little.
- Each of Chris Rusin and James McDonald felt like there was some good and some bad in their outings yesterday (which is appropriate, given that each had one good inning and one bad inning). For the most part, it just sounds like normal Spring Training adjusting stuff. McDonald’s shoulder still feels good.
- Starlin Castro is workin’, workin’, workin’.
- Non-roster invitee Aaron Cunningham is something of a sock salesman on the side, and his teammates are really enjoying the products. This is the kind of thing bound to draw wisecracks, but they sounds like pretty sweet socks (from a company called Strideline), and I think it’s cool that Cunningham is working a professional angle on the side. As he told Carrie Muskat, “Baseball doesn’t last forever.”