The Cubs and Reds BATTLED right to the bitter end of this one … resulting in a 6-6 tie. SPRING TRAINING!
- Tyler Chatwood once again looked perfectly fine in this, his third start of the Spring. The results were good – 5 Ks, no BBs, and just one hit (a homer) over his 3.0 innings of work – but more importantly, he just looks fine out there. You might even go so far as to say he looked … really good:
- Given that Chatwood was the presumed 5th starter coming into camp, he really only needed to look fine in the spring to maintain that role for me, at least. He showed enough last year to merit a re-insertion into the rotation, at least to see what he can put together in the first half. I like Alec Mills a lot, but I also think he can function well enough in a swing role for now (and he’s going to be around longer than just this year – thus, it makes more sense to me to let Chatwood have the first crack at starting, which could give you more options at midseason).
- Craig Kimbrel followed Chatwood with his spring debut, and although he also gave up a solo homer, he also looked basically fine. With Kimbrel, you just want to see him healthy and getting in his normal work after an unhealthy and completely disrupted 2019 season. As we discussed earlier, he felt good being at 95-96mph at this point in the spring, which squares with the available data we have on Brooks. Generally, he’s up to 97 mph by the time camp breaks, so that’s what you should be looking for over the next few weeks.
If the gun was accurate, that's a decent first sign. Historically, Kimbrel is about 97mph by the time Spring Training *ends*, and builds up to 98-99 through the summer. So him being 95-96 in his first March appearance could be right on track. https://t.co/M3fYIXzisS
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) March 4, 2020
- Add Rule 5 pick Trevor Megill to that group of big righties who flash impressive fastballs and nasty breaking pitches:
Looks like Trevor Megill’s newer curve will probably function more as a freeze pitch thrown for strikes. Plays well as a change of pace that he can add some perceived velocity to fastball. The slider, which got both of Megill’s K’s that inning, still the far better breaking ball.
— Cubs Prospects – Bryan Smith (@cubprospects) March 4, 2020
- It may well come that Megill offers enough upside to make the Cubs’ Opening Day bullpen as a Rule 5 pick, but I still wonder – given his minor league options – if the Cubs will instead try to send the Padres a little something in trade to fully acquire Megill free and clear of the Rule 5 restrictions.
- Trent Giambrone continues to have a hot spring, and although he did not impress overall at the plate at Iowa last year following his AA breakout in 2018, he plays well all over the field, runs very well, and has enough power to still possibly pan out as a utility guy. Let’s see where the power and the strikeout rate are after a couple months of adjusting at AAA.
- Ian Miller, signed to a minor league deal, had another couple hits today. I think it will be hard for the Cubs to carry him on the Opening Day Roster given the strong likelihood that he simply cannot hit in MLB right now, BUT … what if he could hit just a little bit? With that glove and that extreme speed? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a Billy Hamilton type on the roster? I think the big questions are whether he could be THAT fast or THAT good with the glove (I really don’t have a sense yet), and if not quite, is it worth carrying him as a 75 wRC+ type bench guy? Billy Hamilton is pretty unique. I mean, the Cubs could always let Miller do his thing at Iowa for a while, see if the bat is improving after whatever he did in the offseason, and then make a decision?
- Fly the T: