Anyone watch that game against the Dodgers yesterday?
Man that was ugly…
Despite a myriad of holes in the Cubs’ pitching and outfielding, they’ve worked themselves into a respectable 4-4 split record in cactus league action. Spring training is a time for experimentation (kind of like college) where coaching staff can call on players to fill rolls that may otherwise have been allocated to someone else on the team. You’ve probably noticed lots of new faces if you’re watching the games and that’s fantastic news for the Cubs.
So after watching Matt Garza struggle to hit the strike zone in 2 innings of work and subsequently have the Cubs get pumped by the Dodgers 5-0, is it time to hit the panic button?
Cubs fans may be some of the most forbearing in the league and that will have to continue throughout 2012. There will be (and have already been) countless times when we’re just going to have to suck it up and take a few bumps on the head in the process. No one said it would be fun, but the reoccurring theme is that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Always keep in mind, the Cubs are rebuilding from the ground up. Laying a brand new foundation mean tearing down the old rubble that used to be. These proverbial building blocks are already in place and progress can be seen! You just have to dig really deep to find it.
- 18/27 players who have seen 4 or more games in Cactus League action are batting over .250 AVG. The bats are working and putting runners on the bags. I know it seems basic but this type of thing will be essential to the Cubs’ this season as “back to basics” baseball is something that Dale Sveum is really preaching right now. Small ball wins championships.
- Blake DeWitt is an absolute monster at the dish with a whopping .600/.667/.900 triple slash. Strong defense is really a nice touch on his game right now and smart batting just completes the circle. He’s drawing a ton of pitches and really making the opposing hurlers work hard to get him to commit to swinging the bat. If he had a little more pop in his bat, he’d be ideal for the Cubs right now but only has 1 extra base hit and 1 home run to his name as it stands. That’s wishful thinking… but the consistency he’s displaying right now exactly what this team needs.
- Junior Lake (who I’m told is a massive human being) wont break the Cubs’ big league roster this year but is still a nice prospect to have in the catacombs. He’s only 21 so experience in the minors will do him a lot of good considering he only has a single hit on seven plate appearances. However, he’s drawn 2 walks and stolen 2 bags in 4 games which really isn’t too bad. If he can suppress the classic youngster problem of swinging at everything and continue to show speed and good judgment on the bases, he could move up the ranks very quickly.
- Alfonso Soriano continues to impress as his bat is red hot right now. Three jacks and four RBI wont go unnoticed by coaching staff and hopefully by fans as well. I’m still a believer in this guy.
- Anthony Rizzo is another guy who wont break the Cubs’ roster this year, but is showing that he “gets it” even at a major league level. His numbers are respectable with a .308/.357/.308 triple slash with 2 RBI and just like his fellow infielder DeWitt, is drawing lots of pitches at the plate. He’s well ahead of the learning curve at 22 years old and will be a impact player for when the Cubs make a run at winning the World Series. I encourage everyone to watch him work.
As painful as it is to watch the Cubs lose baseball games we can all take note that there is a success story waiting to happen here. So many of these young prospects that the Cubs’ have in their system are showing promise. But as we said… they’re young. They need time to mature, learn from their mistakes and blossom into quality MLB players.
Cubs’ fans aren’t just fairweather fans and most will be happy to ride out any hard times that are to come…