Spring Training Miscellany: That’s a Wrap on the Cactus League, Hermosillo, Nwogu, Espinoza, More

The “Chicago Cubs” today lost to the “Texas Rangers” 11-5 in the final Cactus League game of the year.

•   The Spring Training finale is always a scattershot affair, with almost no regulars appearing – many have already started to head to Chicago by that point – and even the depth guys getting a blow by the 4th inning. We get to see some youngsters (in some cases, EXTREMELY young guys – 2021 17th rounder Christian Olivo only just turned 18! And Cristian Hernández made an appearance!), various prospects get to treat it like a more competitive extended Spring Training game, and no one whom the Cubs need in a couple days can get hurt.

•   The Cubs today kicked the game off, in the first inning, with Rafael Ortega doubling and Michael Hermosillo homering. It was the should-be-but-won’t-be center field combo for the Cubs this year. The commitment to seeing if Jason Heyward has anything left is strong, and there seems to be no organizational appetite to see if Ortega’s 2021 against righties was legit, or to see if Hermosillo can take a step forward as a regular contributor if given a real shot. I think it must be a clubhouse thing (and also probably some level of doubt on Ortega and Hermosillo), and I’ll grant that it could matter in a year that is about transitioning and developing young players. However, it’s also a year to see what you might have in fliers who could help in 2023 and beyond (or, perhaps in Ortega’s case, who could become trade pieces in July). I don’t really understand the organization’s decision here, but I guess we’ll see where things stand in May.

•   That Hermosillo homer was the kind of tank he was hitting at Iowa last year:

•   Anderson Espinoza might be pitching in Tennessee’s rotation to start this season, but I continue to wonder if his path to the big leagues needs to shift to the bullpen sooner rather than later (next year would be his final option year). He was showing some good stuff today, but also a little wild. I can see the big leaguer in there, I’m just not sure I can see it as a starter.

•   That was my first time getting to see Cubs relief prospect Danis Correa pitch, and I can see why he was getting helium late last year. The arm just looks strong. He’d be a guy you would see throwing on another team and you’d think, “Oh, who’s that guy?”

•   Cubs outfield prospect Jordan Nwogu has some of the best power in the system, and he showed it today:

•   That dude can hit it so freaking hard and far. Bonus ups to the fan there who was very, very happy to get that ball. Nwogu also had a rocket single on the day.

•   Cristian Hernández, in the flesh:

•   And now we just wait for the very last roster decisions for the Cubs. It could come as soon as tonight, and it is likely to include Alfonso Rivas and Michael Rucker (each of whom appeared today) making the initial roster.

written by

Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

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