The Cubs dropped today’s Cactus League game to the Dodgers 4-2, proving – in contrast to last night – that Spring Training is definitely meaningless.
- The Cubs’ catching tandem is powering up these first two games, with Willson Contreras going deep yesterday and today it was Victor Caratini’s turn:
Victor Caratini bringing the power. pic.twitter.com/s761wo4Mss
— Marquee Sports Network (@WatchMarquee) February 23, 2020
- Power is really the only offensive question for Caratini. He squares the ball up well, and pairs good discipline with good contact skills. What if he took a huge step forward this year:
In BP recently, hitting coach Anthony Iapoce was raving about what he was seeing from Caratini's swing from the right side. The Cubs' No. 2 catcher just roped a double off lefty Alex Wood in the first inning.
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) February 23, 2020
- Relatedly, if the Cubs did believe Caratini was going to break out offensively, they’d probably be more incentivized to carry a third catcher (Josh Phegley?) on the big league roster so that Caratini (and Contreras) can see more regular at bats.
- The presumed 5th starter is feeling good after his outing today:
Tyler Chatwood reiterates this is the best he's ever felt:
"I think there's still a lot of untapped potential. Right now, it's the best I've ever been. I'm able to set up pitches, I'm able to see stuff, have confidence if I miss and come back with a breaking ball."
— Tony Andracki (@TonyAndracki23) February 23, 2020
- Whatever, man. I’m gonna let myself get a little excited about Chatwood. He was a mess in 2018 with a new club. Made significant offseason adjustments and performance leapt forward in 2019. The stuff is top-tier. Why not see even more improvement this year?
- Another year of dreaming on Oscar De La Cruz, eh?
Oscar de La Cruz, a one-time Cubs top prospect, just struck out a pair in a scoreless eighth inning. 93-94 FB and 87-88 CH played well off each other.
— Kyle Glaser (@KyleAGlaser) February 23, 2020
- The big righty has looked the part for years now, but injuries, inconsistency, and a PED suspension took him from a top pitching prospect to a guy who was outrighted and went unclaimed. He’s likely to be in the bullpen at Iowa or Tennessee to open the season, and if he can stay healthy, there’s a chance he would get a big league look at some point. (For what it’s worth, I thought the changeup looked good today, but the fastball was meh.)
- Colin Rea got the first two-inning outing of the year, as he most likely preps to be in the Iowa rotation again as one of the Cubs’ primary starting depth arms.
- Rule 5 pick Trevor Megill showed good stuff, but also uncorked THREE wild pitches in his inning of work. Setting the outing aside, given the volume, it’s hard to see him making the big league roster out of the gate (as he would have to, as a Rule 5 pick), and I still tend to think we’ll see the Cubs send a little something along to the Padres so that they can just keep him at the end of Spring Training. He has options left.