Spring Training Miscellany: Cubs Lose But At Least They Don't Leave Doors Wide Open, Smyly on the Clock, Davis and Mervis, Brown, Leeper, More

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Spring Training Miscellany: Cubs Lose But At Least They Don’t Leave Doors Wide Open, Smyly on the Clock, Davis and Mervis, Brown, Leeper, More

Chicago Cubs

Another spring loss for the Cubs, who went down 6-3 to the Brewers in Maryvale. It was nice to see a lot of prospects getting into the action today, including Kevin Alcántara and James Triantos in the starting lineup, even if they had rough days (Triantos struck out thrice, and Alcántara lost one in the sun in left). The experience is unquestionably good for them.

  • The game got off to a humorous start:
  • The whole first at bat of the game, with Nick Madrigal at the plate, took place with a section of the center field wall wide open. Too bad Madrigal didn’t really get into one.
  • Drew Smyly seemed very much to be in a get-in-my-work mode, which is frankly fine with me for a veteran who is locked into his spot on the roster. Whole lotta fastballs right down the middle, and the Brewers made a lot of hard contact. Didn’t bother me in the least.
  • Smyly did say he has to work on adjusting to the clock:
  • Good point there from Smyly about working with the catcher, as you just aren’t going to have time to shake the catcher off multiple times in a plate appearance. Game-planning in advance with your catcher is going to be all the more important.
  • Ben Brown is fun to watch pitch, with his over-the-top delivery, great life on the four-seamer, and hard-breaking curveball. Whenever I watch him, I can see why evaluators basically all believe he will at least be an impactful big league reliever. I can also see why the Cubs are going to keep trying to make a third pitch work, because you want that guy starting as long as possible.
  • This was a nice play at third base from Nick Madrigal – a play you expect a big league third baseman to make, of course, but I’m glad to see he can:
  • Now, then, you know what the follow-up comment is. Madrigal really had to put EVERY ounce of strength into that throw. On the bright side, it really was a strong-looking throw.
  • Please be back, please be back, please be back:
  • Brennen Davis just has such a pretty swing when he really gets into one. If he is healthy and back to normal in the first half at Iowa this year (or sooner … ), it really makes you feel a whole lot better about the offensive trajectory, internally, over the next several years. He’s got star upside. He’s important.
  • Speaking of the future offensive trajectory of the Cubs … Matt Mervis continues to look so polished and professional at the plate this spring. He took a walk, and also sent a rocket out to the gap in left center (gone at Wrigley Field, for what that’s worth):
  • Don’t forget about Ben Leeper:
  • Leeper was a big-time breakout relief prospect in 2021, didn’t quite have the same strikeout rate in 2022 at Triple-A. But he could very well be a dude.

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.