Spring Training Miscellany: Cubs Are Way Better Than the Dodgers, Williams Debuts, Nico Knocks, More

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Spring Training Miscellany: Cubs Are Way Better Than the Dodgers, Williams Debuts, Nico Knocks, More

Chicago Cubs

The Cubs smoked the Dodgers so thoroughly that they have been awarded the NL West crown. That’s how the cookie crumbles. Sorry, Dodgers. You suck. After the 7-0 win, the Cubs remain undefeated on the spring.

The Cubs got five of their seven runs in the third, including Austin Romine’s first spring homer:

Ian Happ also ripped his first spring homer:

We got our first look at Trevor Williams, Cubs Edition, and he struck out Mookie Betts twice, SO I’D SAY HE’S DOING JUST FINE. I kid, but he did look solid. Like we say about that type of pitcher when the Cubs pick them up: he’s had success in the past, he’s still fairly young, and the Cubs can sometimes unlock an extra gear.

Also looking good? Rex Brothers, who followed Williams with a scoreless frame. I’ve made this comparison before, but I’ll keep going to the well, because it plays: Brothers has a dominant fastball and wipeout slider, each a potential plus-plus pitch (coming from a funky angle, too), and he’s the lefty Dillon Maples. If he could just throw strikes consistently, he would have great success. That’s been the story of his career. Maybe the Cubs will unlock BOTH Maples and Brothers this year, and they’ll magically have two absolutely dominant relief arms seemingly coming out of nowhere! That’d be the dream, eh?

We got to see Cory Abbott pitch last night for an inning, and while he was nibbling, you could see the bones of a big league pitcher there. Although he was the Cubs’ minor league pitcher of the year in 2019 and is theoretically among the starting depth options on the 40-man roster, we will have to keep in mind that he pitched at AA in that 2019 season, and has yet to throw an inning at AAA.

Michael Hermosillo homered for the second time in as many games, this time off of a righty:

Like a lot of guys the Cubs brought in early in the offseason, Hermosillo is one of those guys who can hit at AAA. There’s more or less no question about that at this point. The question is whether he can get over the hump at the big league level (hitting righties is the big one) to be a decent 4th/5th outfielder, or maybe have a little upside from there (he only just turned 26, and has been a well-regarded prospect). He may have been my favorite positional minor league signing of the offseason for the Cubs.

Nico Hoerner continues to feast right now (he was 3-3), with a line drive stroke and a diet of pitches that don’t quite break as much as they would outside of Arizona in March. That’s not to say it’s not better than nothing that he’s raking, it’s just that guys with his preternatural skill set tend to do really well in Spring Training in Arizona in March. Doesn’t necessarily tell you a lot about what comes next.

That said, I did love seeing this:

Ildemaro Vargas is quietly hitting quite well this spring, too, by the way. There’s really only so much you can take away from any of it, but again, it’s better to see than the opposite.



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.