Spring Training Miscellany: Rangers Thump Cubs, Rodriguez and Steele Beautiful Fastballs, Ian and Ian, More

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Spring Training Miscellany: Rangers Thump Cubs, Rodriguez and Steele Beautiful Fastballs, Ian and Ian, More

Chicago Cubs

The Rangers beat the Cubs big today, 13-1. Lotta high-scoring, lopsided games so far this Spring. That’s kinda fun, actually, because whatever.

  • Colin Rea wasn’t quite hitting his spots today (or at least wasn’t getting the calls), and when he missed badly inside with a fastball to Rougned Odor, it turned into a grand slam. Rea was basically the most successful starting pitcher in the entire PCL last year, but there are still questions about whether his command-heavy style will translate in the big leagues. He is in the mix as a depth starter – the Cubs added him to the 40-man roster for a reason – but he is likely to open the season in Iowa’s rotation.
  • The Cubs added Manny Rodriguez to the 40-man roster this offseason straight from High-A, and I would like you to see why:

  • That’s upper-90s with ridiculous late life. The ball just explodes in the second half. Makes me giddy.
  • Rodriguez, 23, signed with the Cubs a few years back after pitching professionally in Mexico for a while. He pairs that gorgeous fastball with a nasty curveball, and by the end of the season, he was schooling hitters constantly. Of course, it was at High-A, so the Cubs had to take a bit of a chance to roster him in case some rebuilding club took a shot on him in the Rule 5. With options, he might still head to the minors to open the season, but man, if he’s got bullets, you use ’em. Bryan wrote about him here.
  • Justin Steele also looked good and lively today with his mid-90s, late-life fastball. Another guy who could see time in the big league bullpen sooner rather than later, as Bryant wrote here. The Cubs have held onto him as a starter for as long as possible, understandably, but he’s a guy who is already on the 40-man, and who might be ready to contribute in the big league bullpen soon. Again, if he’s got bullets, you use ’em.
  • I love seeing the huge velo from these guys, though you do want to make sure they aren’t a little TOO amped up too early trying to impress right now. It can be a dangerous time of the year for young arms, so I expect the Cubs are all over it … in which case, man, Rodriguez could be hitting 100 mph this summer and Steele might be in the upper 90s. Just sayin’.
  • Meanwhile, Dan Winkler and Casey Sadler – both strong contenders for an Opening Day bullpen spot – threw scoreless innings.
  • Carry it all over from the second half, Ian Happ:

  • Worth noting as Ian Miller sees more time:

  • Ross said it:

  • Cubs can still have fun post-Maddon:

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.