Thinking About Regular Playing Time and Outfield Competitions, Pitch Lab, Hamels, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Thinking About Regular Playing Time and Outfield Competitions, Pitch Lab, Hamels, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Thoughts going out to anyone in Tennessee impacted by the tornados. Awful and scary.

  • I like Ian Happ’s attitude here, and it raises a larger conversation:

  • For a guy who was clearly still developing last year, it was important that he was seeing every day action so that he could work on the things he needed to address. And that’s the challenge coming into this year, where he may not get a chance to play every day in center field (unless his offense justifies it (here’s hoping)). As he put it to the Tribune: “It’s not a video game. You just can’t plug and play. To be able to have everyday at-bats, to feel comfortable with different pitchers as you go through the league when you’re seeing guys over and over, that’s important. And as a switch hitter, making sure you’re getting at-bats from both sides of the plate. If you don’t get an (at-bat) from one side of the plate, it’s going to be tough.”
  • In other words – and this is true for virtually all players – you’re not going to see their best over the course of a season unless they’re getting consistent playing time. But, of course, not everyone on the roster can get consistent playing time. That’s just the nature of the sport. So, chalk that up to the many challenges facing first-time manager David Ross: getting the most out of the guys who can’t play every day, and also making sure to have a long enough leash with the guys who are getting a shot to play every day. (Yes, I’m already thinking about center field, and about how I don’t really want to see the Cubs keep both toes in the Happ/Almora water … I kinda want to see them pick a guy and stick with him for a long time as the “starter.”)
  • With Jason Heyward unlikely to slide into center field much this year, seeing how Happ and Almora carry themselves this Spring is all the more important.
  • Such a fantastic intro read into the Pitch Lab for this year:

  • Braves may be glad they didn’t deal any of their upper-level starting pitching prospects.
  • The potential impact of coronavirus on baseball this year has largely been undiscussed so far, but you can bet MLB is talking behind the scenes about how they’ll deal with large groups of fans expected to come together in confined spaces:

  • One of the best, most thoughtful, most important, and most sobering looks at the relationship between streaming, traditional cable bundles, and long-term access to MLB for kids. Ensuring kids today can easily watch MLB games is CRITICAL for long-term, and it’s not being prioritized:

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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.