Spring Training Miscellany: Hendricks Gets Dinged, Thompson Rocks, Canario's Laser Blast, More

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Spring Training Miscellany: Hendricks Gets Dinged, Thompson Rocks, Canario’s Laser Blast, More

Chicago Cubs

The Cubs lost both ends of the split squad day, without too much in the way of notable accomplishments. Sometimes days of baseball are like that. Heck, sometimes life is like that!

•   Kyle Hendricks got knocked around again in a very specific way, and it’s the thing that would probably concern you most if Spring Training results were going to concern you. That is to say, he gave up dingers. A lot of dingers. Four of them in just 4.1 innings. It’s the specific issue he has had in the past when he doesn’t have his best command, and it’s something he dealt with to a terrible extreme last year (his 1.54 HR/9 was, by far, a career worst, and was the fourth worst in all of baseball). So, if there was anything in Spring Training results that might make you nervous, it would be more dingers.

•   I don’t want to OVERSTATE things, because it’s still just Spring Training, and the point for a guy like Hendricks is to get his arm in shape, get his mechanics clean, and stay healthy. You can do all of that while giving up lots of hard contact. We’ve seen it before, many times, from veteran pitchers. But I think it’s wholly reasonable for this issue to be in your Concern Radar heading into the regular season because, frankly, it was already there.

•   For what it’s worth, Hendricks said after the outing that he was specifically trying to work on his down-and-away fastball (which he could not command last year), and kept going back to that well. Which, hey, maybe that’s why he gave up so much loud contact and wouldn’t care about it. Or, if you want the more concerning view, he still wasn’t getting it where he wanted.

•   In that game against the Diamondbacks, David Robertson made his Cubs debut (no video), but he got a groundout and then two strikeouts.

•   Daniel Norris pitched 1.2 scoreless against the Diamondbacks (21 pitches), so I don’t think he’s gonna be in a position to throw more than a couple innings at a time come next week.

•   Keegan Thompson started against the Brewers, and had some nasty stuff working:

•   You can’t freak out about Hendricks’ outing and say Thompson’s outing proves he’s gonna dominate this year – it’s all just practice – but we already knew that Thompson had some dominance in him, especially in multi-inning relief stints. If he gets the shot to start out of the gate for the Cubs, I’ll be really interested to see if he’s better figured out the balance between conserving for a long outing, but not conserving so much that you don’t miss any bats. He’s a big league contributor in SOME role. We know that much.

•   Another clean appearance from Ethan Roberts, whose stuff is such that he’s gotta be one of the best eight or nine relievers available to the Cubs at this moment. If he’s not in the Opening Day bullpen, it’ll exclusively be because he’s got options, and the Cubs know they’ll need to bring him (or other reinforcements) up very shortly into the season, and they don’t want to lose a particular non-roster guy. Because, absent that scenario, he’s gotta be in the bullpen, contributing right away.

•   Cubs outfield prospect Alexander Canario homered against the Brewers, and man, I always love seeing his homers:

•   The power against mistake pitches is clearly there for Canario, who is still only 21. He just has to develop a more complete game at the plate, and although he’s still young, he’s already on the 40-man roster, so the clock has been ticking a bit. You’d really like to see him at least finish up this year at Double-A, making the necessary adjustments.

•   James Triantos remains fun:



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.