Suzuki's Work, Stroman's WBC Experience, Amaya's Foot, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Suzuki’s Work, Stroman’s WBC Experience, Amaya’s Foot, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

The college baseball season kicks off today, yet another checkpoint on the road to baseball in full swing …

  • Seiya Suzuki, who arrived at Cubs came very noticeably swole, says his focus in the offseason was to get stronger and to be better able to deal with MLB fastballs ( “My first year in the big leagues,” Suzuki said, “I felt like I could be better stamina-wise and physicality-wise. So that’s what I concentrated on over the offseason. Just all-around, make sure I have the power — not just upper body, but lower body, as well. And just trying to get used to the fastballs — the fast velocity is different. So I wanted to make sure I had the physicality going into this season.”
  • For what it’s worth, Suzuki’s productivity against fastballs last year wasn’t bad – .373 wOBA, .362 xwOBA – but I think he’s probably a guy who wants to be able to FEAST on fastballs, rather than just hit them reasonably well. Don’t tell anyone, but it was actually breaking pitches (especially sliders) that gave him the most trouble last year: .274 wOBA, .254 xwOBA, 31.6% whiff rate. Of course, the two things might be related: if Suzuki felt he wasn’t quite ready to handle MLB velocity, he may have had to cheat a little bit to be ready, and that may have made him all the more susceptible to good sliders.
  • In sum, it’s pretty hard for me to imagine a circumstance where Seiya Suzuki does not win the NL MVP this year.
  • Although it’s reason to worry about the WBC impact on players, especially pitchers, Marcus Stroman says the opposite was true for him in 2017 (

In the last World Baseball Classic, Stroman made three starts for Team USA, leading the tourney in innings (15 1/3) and logging a 2.35 ERA with nine strikeouts ….

Following the World Baseball Classic experience in 2017, Stroman went on to throw 201 innings for the Blue Jays, and that came after 204 innings the previous year. In that ’17 campaign, Stroman had his best ERA+ (145) over a full season, ending with a 3.09 ERA and 164 strikeouts over 33 starts.

“It was the best thing possible. I felt so strong. I felt like I was midseason ready,” Stroman said of pitching in the Classic. “When you put your body in a position earlier where it’s ready to rock, I feel like you’re just stronger, more stable. It just kind of leads into the year.”

  • Here’s hoping that’s how it plays out again for Stroman this year, as the Cubs could really use him pushing up toward that 200 inning mark, especially if the ERA is down near 3 again. The Cubs have quality depth, and that’s going to matter, but they’re also going to need impact at the front of the rotation, however they can get it.
  • Catching prospect Miguel Amaya is in camp (40-man roster), but isn’t yet fully medically cleared from the Lisfranc fracture he suffered late last season (Sun-Times). He is, however, fully cleared to hit, catch, and throw to bases (so I guess that mostly just means he isn’t running the bases yet?), so he can pretty much do the things you’d most want him to be doing right now after so much time missed with the foot injury and the Tommy John surgery. Your realistic dream scenario for Amaya’s camp is that he shows he is sufficiently healthy and has progressed enough that he’s ready to open the season at Triple-A Iowa. Gut says that probably won’t happen, at least not at first, but it’s my current hope. If it DOES happen, that’ll be a very encouraging sign about how the Cubs feel he looked this spring.
  • The podcast I do with Sahadev Sharma and Patrick Mooney is back for the 2023 season:
  • The Aaron Ashby shoulder inflammation issue must be fairly serious, because Craig Counsell says it’s going to be “multiple months” that he’s out. A hit to the Brewers’ pitching depth.
  • Smart way for a guy not to get screwed by not “starting,” yet still always going long outings (wonder if we’ll see more of this in the future):
  • PJ Happins:
  • Dang it, miss this guy again:

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.