Spring Training Miscellany: Almora in a Better Place, Lester and Ross, Darvish Throws, More

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Spring Training Miscellany: Almora in a Better Place, Lester and Ross, Darvish Throws, More

Chicago Cubs

Most of camp is in full swing for the Cubs, even as position players do not officially have to report until this weekend. Notably – and understandably! – one of the few positional Cubs not yet in camp is Kris Bryant. The same is true for Nolan Arenado and the Rockies, which I’m sure furthers the speculation.

Anyway, elsewhere around camp …

  • Albert Almora is coming off a year and a half of some of the worst baseball in MLB, but the Cubs decided to tender him a contract for 2020 and give him more time to resume being a contributor, perhaps drawing a few starts here and there, and otherwise being the fifth outfielder. Obviously he’s still a starting-caliber center fielder if the bat totally turned around, but the offensive profile he’s shown the last couple seasons don’t leave you with too much optimism on that front.
  • Still, he says he’s in a much better place now and has revamped his swing:

  • Here’s hoping there was something perfect that clicked for him – sometimes it happens for talented guys who need extra time in the big leagues to figure it out. The thing is, I don’t see the problem for Almora being about his swing as much as his inability to adjust to the league moving out and away from him aggressively, and taking advantage of his extraordinary ability to pull those pitches on the ground. Almora was a contact hitter who could always succeed on that strength alone. But at the big league level, you have to be able to identify pitches, stay in your zone, and work an at bat. I hope those adjustments come, too. In the meantime, I’d place the early wagers on Ian Happ starting the majority of games in center field.
  • Jon Lester would snap a dude in half:

  • Lester on Ross:

  • Lester feeling good:

  • Good to hear. Still, I would anticipate a dead arm period of Lester at some point this Spring – it seems to happen to him every year – so if and when it does, don’t freak. Yes, his performance will probably slide a bit more as he ages, but he generally gets the arm where it needs to be by the time Opening Day rolls around. He’s done this a few times.
  • Dream, dream, dream:

  • Nico Hoerner says he’s at his best when he’s working on development:

  • Let’s go, Yu:

  • Pace of play:

  • The former strength and conditioning coach makes a cameo:

Author: Brett Taylor

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