Early Spring Arrivals, Morrow's Usage as Closer, PR Wins, and Other Bullets

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Early Spring Arrivals, Morrow’s Usage as Closer, PR Wins, and Other Bullets

Analysis and Commentary, Chicago Cubs News

For those of you on Instagram, here’s your periodic reminder that BN is also on Instagram (@bleachernation), lookin’ sexy and fit. Or possibly just posting Cubs pictures for you to enjoy as you scroll through your feed. Either way.

  • We’re getting a clearer picture of which Cubs players have reported early to Spring Training this year, as things like Javy Baez’s Instagram show you his arrival, and pictures from the Boys of Spring give you a look at Willson Contreras, Ian Happ, and Albert Almora. We also know that Kyle Schwarber and Jason Heyward have been down there for a long time already, and other reports suggest Mike Montgomery and Ben Zobrist have arrived. A reminder when you look at the reports of early arrivals: for guys who are not U.S. citizens and have to get their work visa situation squared away each year, it isn’t always possible to arrive a whole lot earlier than the designated reporting dates. That doesn’t mean those guys aren’t already getting after it in their home countries.
  • Also, looks like this dude made it in, and I am so here for Spring Training jersey pics:

  • I really loved this read from Patrick Mooney at The Athletic on new Cubs closer Brandon Morrow, and how, despite his extensive injury history and heavy playoff usage, he feels like he’ll be good to go this year. Something I find fascinating and telling: Morrow was apparently already aware of the comparison between his usage and then role the next year and that of Aroldis Chapman, who was used very heavily by the Cubs in the 2016 postseason, and definitely came out of the gate lacking 2017. Here’s what Morrow told Mooney: “As far as the workload goes, I was in a lot of games and a lot of back-to-backs, but I didn’t throw that many pitches. From what I saw comparing it to Chapman the year before — who had just as many innings — he threw 100 more pitches than I did in the playoffs.” Morrow already knew that little bit and was prepared with it. Perhaps it speaks to a guy who has been through so much already in his career, knows he’s 33 with a chance to be a special player on a special team, and wants to make sure he is doing everything he can (including with his head) to succeed?
  • He’s also right, by the way: dude was very, very efficient in the postseason last year. He averaged under 13 pitches per inning in his 13.2 innings of work, and just 12.5 pitches per appearance. He was not out there laboring.
  • Morrow unquestionably saw a huge spike in his usage overall last year, but hopefully the Cubs will have success “protecting” him in a very traditional closer job for the bulk of the regular season, just as they did with Wade Davis. In other words, you should expect to see Morrow used almost exclusively in game-ending save situations, and almost never three games in a row. If that’s how he can be best preserved and kept comfortably nasty, then being very traditional is just fine with me. The stuff and the ability were right up there among the best relievers in baseball last year. Keep Morrow healthy, and there’s a good bet he can do it again.
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
  • Per reports out of Venezuela, Cubs minor league pitcher and Spring Training non-roster invitee Williams Perez was involved in the accidental shooting death of a coach to whom he was apparently handing the gun. What a terrible situation, and I can’t even begin to understand all the layers of heartache that something like this creates.
  • The FanGraphs crew took a look at a bunch of “post-prospects”, and it makes for a very interesting read about a group of players who were once very highly rated prospects, but who have since lost prospect eligibility. There are no Cubs in the write-up, but Pirates righty Tyler Glasnow is in there, as well as new Cardinals starter Miles Mikolas. Once the shine comes off when exposed to the big leagues, how do we re-evaluate and re-rate guys like this? To me, it’s pretty interesting. Glasnow and Mikolas, by the way, still project fairly well, as mid-to-back-of-the-rotation types.
  • This is fantastic for the island, for baseball, and for the players:

  • The Cardinals unloaded their truck at Spring Training this morning and shared a video on Twitter:

  • These are just cool, vibrant shots from the NLDS:

  • Although it isn’t literally everything, as I look around, virtually everything I see that looks cool at the Cubs sports memorabilia shop is on sale right now. I love flipping around that site and dreaming about how I could deck out my office (if I had unlimited funds … ).

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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.