Spring Training Miscellany: Cubs Win, Wesnasty Debuts, Bellinger Knocks, Elias, Little, More

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Spring Training Miscellany: Cubs Win, Wesnasty Debuts, Bellinger Knocks, Elias, Little, More

Chicago Cubs

The Cubs are back on the winning side of the ledger, beating the Mariners today 5-3 at Sloan Park.

The most important thing was the spring debut of Hayden Wesneski, who looked as nasty as ever. You’re not going to make rotation or roster decisions based on a couple spring innings, but it’s an accumulation of things when you’re making the kind of decision the Cubs have to make on him. Today adds “looked dang good early in Spring Training” to the ledger.

Meanwhile …

  • Lefty Roenis Elias followed Wesneski for 2.2 innings of his own, which confirms that the Cubs are keeping him stretched out (he was a reliever in a previously big league life, but became a starting pitcher again late last year and then dominated in the role in winter ball). My guess is he’s currently being viewed as starter number eight or so, which sounds kinda silly at first blush, but you just never know with Spring Training and early-season injuries. It’s also POSSIBLE that Elias wins a long reliever role in the bullpen, but I think that’s less likely than the Cubs wanting to have him available for fill-in starter duty early in the year; remember, the day you wind up needing a pitcher in a pinch doesn’t always line up perfectly with the day your “sixth” starter is on proper rest.
  • Cody Bellinger logged his first hit of the spring, and it was a beauty – lefty on lefty, going with the pitch on the other third, and just taking it to left center:
  • In his next at bat, Bellinger singled, and in his third, he hit one even harder than the double, sending a bases-loaded pitch to the wall in center. It’s a fly out in the scorebook, but it was really nice to see.
  • Brendon Little is going to be vexing, because it’s clear he is impossible for lefties to hit when he’s locked in (PCA said as much), but I don’t know how regularly he’s going to have his command in place to also survive against righties.
  • Nice to see relief prospect Michael McAvene get in a little action – it’s been a long, injury-filled road for McAvene.
  • Each of Michael Rucker, Vinny Nittoli, and Manny Rodriguez threw a scoreless frame. I’d probably place all three on the outside of the bullpen competition looking in at the moment, but I’d also say that any of the three could wind up in the final eight by the time the end of the month rolls around. Just like with the rotation, you need more than eight relievers in whom you have confidence if you’re going to wind up with a quality eight on March 30.
  • Yonathan Perlaza is getting a lot of run as one of the default “next outfielders in after the starters leave” guys this spring, and I think it’s a good bet he’s going to be watched closely at Iowa this year.

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.