Luis is out in Arizona right now, but I’m just going to miss him – I head out on Wednesday.
- It’s still early and it’s just Spring Training, but I thought it would be fun (and only fun – there is nothing predictive or meaningful here!) to check in on a few of the team leaders so far. For example, Miguel Montero’s 1.567 OPS is tops on the team right now, just head of another catcher … Willson Contreras, who is at 1.443. And two of the other players above 1.000 are future Iowa Cubs teammates of Contreras’s in John Andreoli and Jeimer Candelario. The only other hitter who’s played more than a few games and is above 1.000 is Anthony Rizzo. David Ross is at exactly 1.000.
- At the other end of the super small sample spectrum, the low man on the OPS totem pole among expected Cubs regulars is Kyle Schwarber, at .375. New guys, Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist are both below .600, and Kris Bryant is just above at .610.
- Arismendy Alcantara has somehow already stolen four bases … and been thrown out three times. John Andreoli has struck out 9 times in 21 plate appearances (but when he hasn’t struck out, he’s walked and/or crushed the ball). Munenori Kawasaki’s five walks leads the team.
- On the pitching side, Kyle Hendricks’ 11 strikeouts is tops, but reliever Spencer Patton is in second with 7, despite pitching only 4 innings so far. Too many pitchers have low ERAs to discuss (like I said, tiny sample), but Andury Acevedo’s 19.29 ERA is the leader at the other end of things.
- The Cubs will play an extra game this week, of the “B” variety (i.e., more fake than a Cactus League game) against the Rockies at their house on Thursday at 12pm CT (Cubs.com).
- Good news from the minor league portion of Spring Training, as Billy McKinney is playing games. One of the Cubs’ top prospects, McKinney’s season ended early last year thanks to a hairline fracture in his kneecap, and he’d been a little slower coming along than the Cubs had hoped. But he’s playing games, including some time in the outfield, according to Arizona Phil.
- Absent from those mentions, though, is Gleyber Torres, whom I noticed got into some big league games early in Spring Training, and then hasn’t again, even when there’s been split-squad action, and the pool of youngsters from which the Cubs draw gets plenty deep. Normally, I would have expected to see more of Torres during those games. Hopefully there’s no physical issue there, and it’s just been a logistical matter.
- A really fun read here from Tony Andracki on the art of the walk-up song, and the sadness we’ll feel without the stadium all clapping along when Starlin Castro heads to the plate. Although I know it defeats the purpose in saying so, but I really hope something that awesome develops organically this year with someone’s song.
- A profile on Cubs reliever Clayton Richard, who has come back from a lot – things other pitchers don’t always come back from – to pitch in the big leagues. Although the Cubs may be best served using Richard in a more traditional reliever role, he can still be an extremely valuable part of the pen, especially if the way his velocity and stuff played up in relief last year continues into 2016 (or even takes another step forward, as he’s further away from surgery).
- If you missed anything this weekend, catch yourself up here. And if you missed it this morning, Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester are having their starts this week moved, but it’s all good.
- 14-year vet Willie Bloomquist retired, and he announced it, visually, in the coolest way possible.
- This weekend at Baseball is Fun, Michael wrote about a monster Ken Griffey, Jr. homer, and the time Brian McRae (apparently) broke a Mets toilet.
- Camping season approaches, and dang if this isn’t a very cool electric, collapsable lantern at Amazon for just $7.99 – normally $35.00. I know that sounds like an ad, and it is, but it does look very cool. And I am going to buy one right now. (And then a few minutes later, I got a text from The Wife: “Did you just order a camping lantern?” Yup. Sure did!)