Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

cactusThe Cubs split their split squad games today, beating the Angels 3-2, and losing to the Indians 7-2.

  • Edwin Jackson was knocked around, and must’ve been a little wild, too, because he hit a couple batters, though he didn’t walk any. As is my general position with veteran starters in the Spring, I don’t really get too concerned – at least until I read about the manager or player hinting at actual problems. Scott Feldman’s Spring ERA last year was a huge story. How many of you even remember that? He couldn’t get anyone out, and then he immediately came out dealing when the season started.
  • A little more concerning in the game was Blake Parker, who got just one out, and gave up three earned runs on three hits and two walks. He hasn’t had a great Spring after coming into things on the inside track for a bullpen spot. Given the extreme competition for bullpen jobs, you’ve simply got to scrutinize his performance a little more closely than you might otherwise.

  • Arodys Vizcaino threw an inning of high-90s fastballs today, striking out two in a scoreless inning. I look forward to seeing a 15.0 K/9 in the minors halfway through the year, and then seeing what’s up in the second half at the big league level. Stop dreaming on him for 2015, Brett. Stop it. That’s a long, long way away.
  • James McDonald threw a couple scoreless innings, allowing just one hit. He didn’t walk anyone or strike anyone out. He remains my best guess for the fifth starter right now. (Carlos Villanueva also threw a couple so-so innings today. Given that Chris Rusin can be optioned, I think Villanueva is your back-up guess as the fifth starter.)
  • Tsuyoshi Wada struck out three in his two innings of work (two innings suggesting he’s still being viewed as a starter for now – he’s actually probably got a very outside shot of nabbing that fifth starter job, himself), allowing three hits and a walk. I believe I heard that Jorge Soler booted a ball in right that didn’t help things for Wada, but I missed the context.

  • Lefty Jonathan Sanchez finally threw a scoreless frame, walking one and striking one out.
  • Ryan Roberts continues to see extensive action, and he’s doing fairly well – he had another couple hits today, including a double. He’s versatile, and can knock lefties, but it’s going to be tough to find him a spot on the team if all of Donnie Murphy, Emilio Bonifacio, and Darwin Barney are still around come March 31. Maybe if the Cubs don’t carry a true fifth outfielder? I suppose with Bonifacio and Roberts in the fold, they wouldn’t have to.
  • Kris Bryant homered again (to right field) and struck out twice. That’s been his story this Spring: strikeouts and homers.
  • Mike Olt got four at bats today, and did not reach base. He struck out twice.
  • The thing to remember about both Bryant and Olt: strikeouts are likely to always be part of their game. Strikeouts, on their own, are not necessarily a problem. In Olt’s case, he’s got some swing and miss, but he also sees a ton of pitches. It’s just part of his game. On Bryant, he has some swing and miss, but he’s still just starting out in pro ball. Even the best prospects will have a bit of that when facing quality pitching. It’s really not something to be concerned about right now – at least not because of various Spring Training results.
  • Josh Vitters – for whom strikeouts are not usually a part of his game – struck out three times in three at bats today. Christian Villanueva had a single in three at bats.

  • Junior Lake got a hit in three at bats, and struck out only once. That’s kind of progress. He stole a base, too.
  • Jorge Soler had a triple! Hooray! Albert Almora had a single! Hooray! Javier Baez … did not have a hit. Quick, change the narrative!

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