The first full trailer for Season Six of ‘Game of Thrones’ is out, and good gravy does it get my motor running. With the show fully caught up with the books (for the most part), and venturing into new territory of its own, I can finally more freely roam the internet without fear of spoilers. I can’t wait for this season, which premiers not too long after the new Cubs season premiers, for which I also can’t wait …
- This offseason, we’ve focused a great deal on Javier Baez’s expected role with the big league team from a defensive perspective, in equal parts because the super utility role is important and interesting, and also because we already know how talented he is defensively. But we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that this is still a 23-year-old player who hasn’t yet established himself in the big leagues as a capable hitter, outside of some promising small sample bits from late last year. The challenge for Baez is going to be reining in his natural instinct to go big with every at bat and every swing, and continue to make his adjustments at the plate despite perhaps not playing every day. It’s a tall task, and hopefully Joe Maddon is able to give Baez enough playing time to settle in.
- And no, I don’t think we’re seriously going to be having a “will he have to go back to the minors for a while” conversation in a few weeks, as Baez’s overall value to this particular team, even if he’s not hitting all that well, is so high that I’m not sure the Cubs can afford to park him at AAA for a while. But I do think it’s possible we may come back to conversations we’ve had frequently over the past two years about whether Baez will be able to improve his contact ability enough for his overall offensive skills to add value. It’s still a very important story to follow, especially given that we know injuries happen, and there’s a very good chance Baez is a regular for the Cubs this year at some position for a long stretch of time (or two or three), rather than just subbing in every few days or so.
- To that end, Baez talks to Cubs.com about his appearances against Clayton Kershaw, and you can see that the adjusting process is a long one, as Baez mentions deciding he was going to try and crush the ball in his first at bat before deciding he wasn’t going to swing early in the count in his second at bat (even though he says he saw the pitch he wanted). That’s not exactly the approach you want to hear about, but that’s how you know this remains an ongoing process. It’s also important to note that, with this being Spring Training, you don’t know exactly what a guy is working on in a given at bat – it’s possible Baez was trying to have certain kinds of at bats for the very purpose of trying to work on certain kinds of at bats. More on Baez here at ESPN and here at CSN.
- Albert Almora had a back issue yesterday, but apparently it was just a minor spasm problem that is not serious (Cubs.com).
- If you missed it early this morning, a visual look at Jake Arrieta’s first Spring Training start.
- Sahadev Sharma takes a deep dive on Dexter Fowler’s brief period of struggles in 2015, his surge thereafter, and his improved defense.
- Speaking of Sharma – I call him Sahadev, but when I reference him in the writer context I always feel compelled to call him by his last name – we do a podcast together, and our latest episode dropped late yesterday. Check it out.
- If you missed it last night, Michael shared a video of Fowler and Jason Heyward chatting about their roles together in the outfield, aging, and more.
- Over at BIF, that picture that everyone saw of the guy saving the kid’s face from a flying bat has a story behind it. Also, Michael writes about an incredible catch that turned into an even more incredible triple play.
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