cactusThe Cubs were solidly in control of this one going into the 9th, but the wheels completely came off in a silly inning. A silly, Spring Training inning.

  • Mike Olt ripped a solid single to center and made some fantastic plays in the field at third base. Were you judging on today, alone, you’d say this is the third baseman for the Cubs. Were you judging on the entirety of Spring Training, well, you might say it as well.
  • The hold-your-breath moment of the game came on a great sliding catch by Albert Almora in center field. Problem was, he slid right into the wall with his right knee. Given his injury-plagued 2013 season, extra nervousness was understandable. He jogged off under his own power, and the Cubs later said it was a bruised knee. If that’s all it is, you’ll thank your lucky stars for the few days he gets off. The good news is, as expected, he looked great out there.
  • Dan Vogelbach drilled a couple singles (though he did get picked off first base once – it’s that legendary speed), and looked great at the plate. Physically, as we’ve said before, he looks as good as he ever has. He’s still a stocky guy whom you won’t mistake for a corner outfielder, but he does look like a guy who can play first base.
  • Junior Lake hit another homer – a bomb to left field – and struck out twice. Lake, in a nutshell.
  • George Kottaras hit a deep double off the center field wall (hooray for trade rumors!), but also dropped an easy pop up in foul territory (boo for trade rumors!).
  • Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon looked pretty nasty today in relief, which is good going forward. The offending reliever in the above-mentioned nightmare 9th inning, though? Well, it’s bullpen bubble guy Alberto Cabrera, who gave up five earned on four hits and a walk (including one homer). He struck out one, but that was the only out he got. Is this kind of appearance enough to sink his bullpen chances? Nah. He’s looked good this Spring, and he doesn’t have any options. But, well, it happened.
  • MightyBear

    It won’t sink Cabrera but he’s on a life raft. First he wasn’t fooling anyone today and that wasn’t Trout, Pujols and Hamilton pounding him. The Cubs gave away a lot of games early last year because of the bullpen. I don’t think they want to keep doing that. He should be on a short leash this year especially with the guys they already sent down.

  • David

    What is Volgebach’s ceiling? Disregarding his defense or lack there of. Top 50 prospect going into 2015? Per the previous article regarding power, he gonna bring back an impact player when traded. Hopefully a TOR dude.

    • npnovak

      I don’t think he will even be a top 100 prospect. Unless he hits 40 home runs or something crazy.

      • Cheese Chad

        I’ll disagree with that. He is getting closer to top 100 and with a lot of the top 15 set to make an appearance at the major league level in the next year I think he’s got a decent shot to crack the top 100.

        • IA_Colin

          I think he’ll stay in the low 90s on the prospect charts. If he had the promise of Rizzo’s defense then he’d skyrocket up but he doesn’t. Many first rounders and toolsy players at premium positions will leap him.

          But don’t think he wont be an excellent ball player. He just wont ever be looked upon as a Baez type of prospect. That isn’t a real negative though.

          • Luke

            If he hits very well in Double A, Top 50 would be possible. His offensive ceiling is arguably high enough to warrant it.

            • David

              Not to discredit anyone, or the position too much….you would think he would be able to play an average first base by now. Providing an OK amount of athleticism, solid work ethic and knowledge of the game. I was able to learn how to play it in college after catching in high school. I know MLB is an overwhelming difference than college, but geez. Your thoughts???

              • Bret Epic

                There’s always more time to adjust. Considering how much weight he’s lost, I’m sure he’s likely maturing and trying to prove his dedication to himself, as well as those who doubt him. This year may very well define the type of player he is, or is capable of being. If he can dedicate the work ethic he had towards losing weight on improving his defensive game, he might have a chance at becoming an average defender (or close to average defender) at first base. The very least he’ll end up is decent trade bait, especially with how many teams are desperate for a decent first baseman. If he has a good year this year, he might end up in the majors sometime in mid to late 2015 and I know that the Brewers need first basemen and have some good pitching prospects. I’m probably over analyzing, but I think something between these two teams could work out, whether it be now or later.

              • Kyle

                Literally half the guys who play 1b in the majors have to be below average at it. Why can’t Vogelbach stay there because of his general not-that-athleticism?

                • DarthHater

                  “Literally half the guys who play 1b in the majors have to be below average at it.”


            • IA_Colin

              Alright so has the top 1b prospect (Jon Singleton) at #50…quoted to be a capable defender.

              Yes he could get up there in rankings but this is all so theoretical and honestly arbitrary. I think we all agree he’s going to be a good baseball player and the more often he hears how much he can’t handle first base the more he’s going to work hard on it. Prince Fielder has made a nice career with average defense.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    What difference would it make if some magazine ranked him higher? You either can play or you can’t. Fans are addicted to lists.

    • mjhurdle

      the difference is that, if magazines are ranking him higher, then it is more likely that he ‘can play’ as opposed to ‘can’t play’.
      It doesn’t guarantee anything, but it is a good indicator.
      I suspect you do much the same thing as far as being “addicted” to lists. If you go to a different city, do you look up hotel ratings and reviews? why? Just because a hotel is rated higher than another doesn’t guarantee that you will have a good stay. But if you go to higher rated hotels, your odds of having a good stay are better than if you constantly go to lower rated hotels.

      • DarthHater

        In fairness, hotel performance is a lot easier to predict than prospect performance.

  • kridertr

    Cabrera won’t even have the chance to lose games got the cubs early in the year if he makes the bullpen. He will be in mop up duties to start the year and see where it goes

  • jp3

    Any reason almora was pulled today? Please no injury.

    • DarthHater

      He ran into the wall.

      • jp3

        Shit, really? Any word on seriousness yet? He’s studly but damn he worries me on being banged up all the time. Not his fault it just seems like he’s unlucky a lot.

        • Brett

          It’s in the post. Second bullet.

          • jp3

            I think nervously after I saw the box score and saw he came out I scanned the bullets too quickly looking for the news on it and then subsequently jumped too far on my “jump to conclusions matt” when I didn’t see it. Sorry Brett.

  • Javier Bryant

    Vogelbach = Matt Adams?