Spring Training Notes: Today's Lineup is Interesting, Multiple Debuts, Smyly Coming, Ramirez Arrives, More

Social Navigation

Spring Training Notes: Today’s Lineup is Interesting, Multiple Debuts, Smyly Coming, Ramirez Arrives, More

Chicago Cubs

Some mid-day notes for you on Suzuki Day …

⇒ The big one, of course, is that new Cubs outfielder Seiya Suzuki will make his spring debut, batting second, playing right field, and generally looking badass:

⇒ The rest of the lineup is interesting, though:

⇒ So you’ve got Jonathan Villar also making his (understandably less-heralded) Cubs debut today. He plays third next to Nico Hoerner at shortstop (lots of talk about that this morning), with Nick Madrigal getting in at second base.

⇒ The first start in center field next to Suzuki is Jason Heyward, which you COULD read as a clue that the Cubs do intend to keep Heyward among the outfielders who make the Opening Day roster (which would be a blow to Michael Hermosillo making the team, and I think could be a mistake; and would also be a blow to Rafael Ortega starting against all righties, which could also be a mistake), since they would want that duo getting as many reps next to each other in the outfield as possible.

⇒ Clint Frazier leading off, eh? Not necessarily what you’d assume for a big bat, but (1) the Cubs probably just want to get him as many plate appearances before the opener as possible for evaluation purposes, and (2) he does historically work fantastic, deep plate appearances with a ton of walks, and he has decent speed.

⇒ For now, Drew Smyly will be pitching in the spring in a starting role, beginning tomorrow:

⇒ That doesn’t mean Smyly will break camp as the fifth starter, though the Cubs now have gone Hendricks, Stroman, Steele (stand in for Miley? or does Miley go at the back as the “sixth” starter?), Mills, Smyly in order (in a NORMAL timeline, you would start setting up your rotation order right around now). It also KINDA doesn’t matter who is “in the rotation” in the early part of the season, because so many of these guys – including a lot of guys “in the bullpen” – are going to be going two or three innings at a time, regardless of when they first enter the game.

⇒ Outfielder Harold Ramirez is finally in camp:

⇒ It is extremely TBD what happens with Ramirez from here, because he’s on the outside looking in given the crowded outfield competition, but the Cubs snagged him for a reason last fall (likely some impressive batted ball data that they think they can translate into results). Unfortunately, Ramirez has no minor league options remaining, so he either makes the team or hits the waiver wire (or is placed on the Injured List for ramping up purposes, which sure SEEMS like it should be a fair thing in his case, but I don’t know if MLB will allow it).

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.