Chicago Cubs: Could John Andreoli outshine Jay during Spring Training?
By David Miniel
The Chicago Cubs’ farm system still possesses some of the top prospects in the entire league. Despite some recent signings, a few minor league names could end up on the Opening Day roster.
Over the past several seasons, the Chicago Cubs have had a handful of top prospects make their big league debuts. From Jorge Soler to Javier Baez, Addison Russell, Kyle Schwarber, Kris Bryant, Kyle Hendricks, and a few others, the future is brighter than ever.
Since cracking the major league roster, Chicago’s farm system dropped from No. 1 in Major League Baseball. However, the Cubs still have one of the deepest systems in the league. Even after trading Gleyber Torres and Billy McKinney.
Two men who pretty much had nowhere to go when it came to the major league depth chart. So, they were shipped off to New York for Aroldis Chapman.
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Now, last spring, John Andreoli was one of the outfielders who received an invitation to Mesa, Arizona. The young center fielder did not disappoint, putting on a power display while showing off his speed on the base paths.
Andreoli was drafted by the Cubs in the 7th round back in 2011. He later reported to the Peoria Chiefs, appearing in only 10 games that year. As time went on, Andreoli began to improve in the batters’ box while proving to be a reliable glove in the outfield.
Turning it around
Up until last year, Andreoli hasn’t hit much for power. His 12 home runs and 61 RBI for the Triple-A Iowa Cubs just so happens to be a career-high for the 26-year-old. While in the mix behind Schwarber, Dexter Fowler, and Jason Heyward, Andreoli made the best of Cactus League play.
In 25 games, John made the best of his playing time by hitting four homers, including an inside the park home run. That came against the San Diego Padres back in mid-March in the 11-1 Cubs victory.
So, what are the chances that he outshines veteran center fielder Jon Jay? Well, surely, Joe Maddon is going to want to keep as many left-handed bats on the roster as possible. Following the departure of Fowler, a switch-hitter, he was down one potential left-handed hitter until Jay signed.
However, that doesn’t mean Andreoli won’t make the 25-man Opening Day roster as a potential back-up. As of right now, the Cubs have two locked starters with Matt Szczur likely to serve as a bench player.
Next: What's next for the Cubs pitching staff?
What’s the harm in them giving Andreoli a taste of big league action to help even things out? Both Chris Coghlan and Soler are no longer with the team. And Ben Zobrist could see some outfield action, giving Javier Baez a bit of playing time at second base.
Andreoli makes sense when it comes to adding another everyday outfielder to the roster when it’s time to wrap Spring Training.