Chicago Cubs: Will John Andreoli be called up when rosters expand?
In exactly 16 days, on September 1st, every team will have their rosters expand from 25 to 40. This gives clubs such as the Chicago Cubs to rest veteran players, allowing minor league talent to get some playing time.
For Joe Maddon‘s first place Chicago Cubs, this will be important. Chicago is on their way to clinching their first division title since the 2008 campaign. A year in which they were swept by the Los Angeles Dodgers during the National League Division Series.
Best of luck to the team who gets scheduled to take on this club in the first round. After getting swept by the New York Mets last October, the Chicago Cubs are itching to get back to the National League Championship Series.
But before they prepare themselves for postseason play, they need to finish out the regular season. Obviously.
Once rosters expand, guys such as Jeimer Candelario, Albert Almora Jr., and Munenori Kawasaki are expected to be brought up. All three men made their Chicago Cubs debut at some point this season.
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Now, with Candelario and Kawasaki up, this could give Addison Russell, Ben Zobrist, and even Kris Bryant an opportunity to rest up. As we all know, Tommy La Stella is still a no-show for the Triple-A Iowa Cubs, so that is still a problem.
So what about the outfield? Kyle Schwarber is out for the remainder of the year with a torn ACL and Chris Coghlan, well, hasn’t really done anything with the bat. Except for his two-run single against the Cardinals.
Yes, the Cubs will have plenty of options when it comes to their starting rotation, bullpen, and infield so they will need to address left, center, and right field. Why not add John Andreoli to the 40-man roster and give him a taste of the big leagues?
Andreoli, 26, was on fire during Cactus League play after receiving a non-roster invitee to training camp. Prior to the 2016 campaign, the young outfielder had a career high of five home runs as a member of the Tennessee Smokies.
While with the Cubs in Arizona, Andreoli hammered four long balls. Not to mention, one of those home runs just so happened to be an inside the parker. He ended camp with 10 RBI, one triple, 24 total bases, 10 hits, and seven runs scored while batting .270/.341/.649.
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This season with the Iowa Cubs, Andreoli has swatted a new career high 11 big flies, 52 RBI, and 81 runs scored in 435 at-bats. Huge improvement compared the first five years of his professional career.
Some would argue that he struck out 20 times in 37 at-bats, which is true. Except, he’s not the only player within this organization who had problems in that department. Do the names Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler, and Javier Baez ring any bells?
Allow Andreoli to work with hitting coach John Mallee throughout September and he could end up finding himself in a Matt Szczur-type role in the future. He has the speed and most importantly the glove to become a valuable player within the next couple of seasons.