The third base prospect was in the midst of laying waste to the league, and had been so fantastic after a midseason promotion to AA in 2015 that he was already squarely on folks’ radars. I knew that the switch-hitter was really coming along, and there’s only so much you can say about a young man crushing it in Arizona in a relatively small sample. But he earned the things people were saying.
So, once again, Candelario is killing it in Arizona, in a relatively small sample, but now he’s doing it regularly against big league caliber pitchers (albeit ones tuning up for the season or trying to win a roster spot). It’s impossible not to be impressed.
Here he is today, hitting an opposite field homer as part of a three-hit day (and the one time he was retired, he was robbed on a liner):
— Jon Ferlise (@CubsKingdom) March 13, 2016
It’s easy to forget that he was still something of a 40-man question mark heading into the 2015 season, but, with what he did, the Cubs made the extremely easy decision to add him to the roster, protecting him from December’s Rule 5 Draft. Had they not, he’s now showing folks what some lucky team could have had if they’d been able to pluck him. Frankly, the guy looks like he could be hitting in the big leagues right now.To be very clear: small sample Spring Training stats should not fundamentally change your perspective on any player. There is too much flukiness, too much being worked on by other teams, and too much that we don’t know.
But it is fair to be impressed by a guy consistently having good at bats, consistently making strong contact, and doing it all against pitchers generally older and more experienced. Moreover, when the guy in question is coming off the kind of year Candelario’s already had since last July, it’s impossible not to take note.
Here’s hoping Candelario finishes a strong spring, heads to AAA Iowa and continues to rake, putting the Cubs in the awkward spot of trying to figure out how to accommodate yet another young, impact bat.