Cubs Players Hop on MLB Network: Mancini, Taillon, Happ, Swanson

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Cubs Players Hop on MLB Network: Mancini, Taillon, Happ, Swanson

Chicago Cubs

The MLB Network crew is making the rounds this spring to the various camps, and yesterday set up shop in Mesa, Arizona with the Cubs. That meant a few extra video hits for Cubs players, four of which I wanted to share.

First, let’s hear from Trey Mancini, who was kinda targeting the Cubs for much of the offseason:

I know it’s one of those squishy things that is hard to quantify, but I appreciate Mancini talking about the mix of players the Cubs have – guys who have been on really bad teams and also on championship teams, who know what the vibe is on one versus the other. The veterans can help provide that sense for the younger guys.

As for his own game, Mancini says he wants to get back to hitting the ball up the middle more (hey, you chose a good home ballpark for that), using the big part of the field. He felt like he got a little pull-happy last year, which lead to some “swing deficiencies.”

Jameson Taillon talks about his pitch usage, and how it might be tweaked a bit this year (including, yes, the oft-discussed development of a sweeper):

So, potentially look for more curveball usage from Taillon this year, and then the sweeper slider if he can get it consistently to a place where he feels comfortable with it. If he’s got both of those pitches in his back pocket and if there’s plenty of separation between them, that’ll be nice to have two distinct breaking pitches as weapons.

Ian Happ talks about his new-look team:

A good reminder there from Happ that, with a new center fielder in the mix – and a still relatively new right fielder – there has to be a whole lot of practice on communication this spring, including in games. Each of Happ, Cody Bellinger, and Seiya Suzuki, needs to know the others’ preferences for how they like to talk out there, the kinds of balls they like to go after, what directions they might favor, etc.

Happ also appreciates having a deeper lineup this year, which can help everyone have a little more success. Generally speaking, the more your teammates are getting on base around you, the easier your job is going to be, because that pitcher is already grinding or in a tough spot.

And then there’s Dansby Swanson, talking about his appreciation for an organization like the Cubs and his desire to lead:

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.