While we sit and wait to see where James Shields will pitch over the next several years, the Chicago Cubs have released some more names that we can expect to see in Mesa.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the team has extended invitations to 19 non-roster players including Addison Russell and Kris Bryant. Well of course they’re going to invite two of their top elite prospects to spring training. Why wouldn’t they?
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Other names on the list include last years first round draft pick catcher Kyle Schwarber. Right now there’s no telling what position this young buck is going to end up playing once he hits the major league scene.
Speaking of catchers, the Cubs picked up Texas Longhorns alum. and former Texas Ranger/New York Mets’ veteran Taylor Teagarden not too long ago. Although Teagarden isn’t expected to make as huge as an impact as Schwarber, he puts the team in a comfortable position when it comes to his veteran presence.
A total of 10 position players including the four already mentioned have the opportunity to grab the attention of both the front-office of this club and manager Joe Maddon. Guys such as Jonathan Herrera, Albert Almora, Adron Chambers, Mike Baxter and Chris Valaika could see playing time sometime this season if they perform well during the spring.
One man who was invited, is 2012 Cubs’ Minor League Player of the Year man Logan Watkins. Just in case you missed it, Watkins suffered a torn Achilles while going through a pre-spring training workout on Wednesday.
It’s likely he’ll be out for the entire 2015 season.
The Cubs appear to be on the right track when it comes to their big league roster. Their farm system on the other hand could use some work, as they don’t necessarily have any ‘Kris Bryant‘ like pichers to compliment prospect C.J. Edwards.
Cubs’ president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer pulled off a trade for promising bullpen arm in Matt Brazis from the Seattle Mariners, but he’s not expected to be in Mesa this season.
Non-roster pitchers you can expect to see on the mound sometime this spring include Daniel Bard, Corey Black, Anthony Carter, Jorge De Leon, Armando Rivero, Donn Roach, Francisley Bueno, and Hunter Cervenka.
Rivero, 27, has the biggest shot out of all the non-roster arms invited to crack the big league roster either before or midway through the year. He split the 2014 season between Double-A and Triple-A ball and posted a solid 2.22 ERA with 11 saves and a 100/28 K/BB ration in 65 innings. All he needs to do is work on controlling his command and he should be golden.
Daniel Bard on the other hand has a long ways to go and should be considered a long-shot to even remain with the team after March.
Again, pitchers and catchers report to Mesa on Feb. 19 while the position players show up on Feb. 24. The first full-squad workout is scheduled for Feb. 25.