No game at Cubs Park today, but I’m still going to head over that way to see if I can take in some practice and/or minor league stuff. When in Rome, do as the nerds do.
- My eyes didn’t deceive me yesterday: Jeff Samardzija, who was hit a bit, was solely working on his four-seamer and his sinker yesterday. No breaking stuff. He’s not saying yet whether he expects to be the Opening Day starter, although I’d imagine that’s everyone’s expectation at this point, barring an injury or surprising trade.
- Arodys Vizcaino tells Patrick Mooney he can’t remember the last time he felt this good, which is swell. That said, it sounds like the Cubs are taking it very easy with Vizcaino, because of the injuries and because of the upside. There’s no sense in derailing anything this year permanently when 2014 isn’t what really matters when it comes to the young talents like Vizcaino. As I’ve written before, given the need to manage Vizcaino’s innings and service time considerations (and the glut of bullpen arms), starting the year in the minors makes the most sense. Just keep the young man healthy, bring him back slowly, and keep an eye on 2015 for the year when he could really be a huge contributor.
- A profile on Chris Coghlan, who has dealt with injuries for the better part of the last four years. He says he’s healthy now, and we’ll see if he’s the guy that grabs the fifth outfielder job. Someone from the Coghlan, Wells, McDonald, Cunningham contingent figures to get the gig (I haven’t seen Mitch Maier get playing time yet, and Kalish/Vitters/Jackson figure to be ticketed for the minors for now). I didn’t remember that Coghlan’s original injury occurred when he tried to do the shaving cream in the face thing and slipped, eventually leading to knee surgery. As the piece indicates, that was a rough thing to deal with for Coghlan for years, as he was the butt of many jokes.
- Nate Schierholtz would really like to face more left-handed pitching this year, which you can understand from an outfielder in his walk year. From the Cubs’ perspective, it just depends on the makeup of the rest of the outfielders on the roster, and how they want to contour Schierholtz’s performance. Assuming Emilio Bonifacio makes the team and can play in the outfield, the Cubs will be able to go with a pure platoon outfield if they wanted, though it sure seems like Junior Lake is going to be given an opportunity to get regular starts in center field.
- Richard Justice profiles Mike Olt as another “now healthy” type. One thing is for sure at this point: the critical mass of authority is that Olt is completely over his eyesight issues. Whether that’s enough to push him into successful starting role in the big leagues this year, we’ll just have to see. It may not come until midseason, by the way.
- Top Cubs pitching prospect C.J. Edwards is up to 167 pounds, according to Jesse Rogers, which is about 10 pounds up from his playing weight last year. It’s a good start for the wiry, 6’2″ pitcher who could stand to add the weight to help his durability long-term. Some of that weight will probably come off naturally throughout the season, but, hey, as he enters his mid-20s, some of that insane metabolism will fall off, right? It sure as hell did for me.
- Jonathan Mayo likes Albert Almora as a prospect a little better than fellow center fielder George Springer.
- Matt Spiegel took in Cubs Park this week, and wrote up his experience with an eye toward the rebuild. Good read.
- A story about Cardinals top prospect Oscar Taveras and his comeback from serious ankle surgery – it’s a reminder of how fragile even the best of prospects can be, and, yeah, it’s a little bit of SCardenfreude. I guess Taveras is having trouble convincing himself that he’s fully healthy, and can go at 100%.