In what is an MVP-level performance, Chicago Cubs outfielder John Andreoli produced for Italy in the WBC. It was also his audition for other teams.
If you have not watched any of the action during the World Baseball Classic, you missed some great performances. A clutch hit by Adam Jones helping Team USA beat Columbia. The swagger-filled tag by the Chicago Cubs‘ Javier Baez on Nelson Cruz (even if it was a throw from that catcher from the team three hours south).
There is another Cubs’ player that exceeded expectations, proving his ability to hit in pressure situations. Although Team Italy was eliminated, John Andreoli‘s statement was clear. He is ready to play in big moments. But, when times comes, will he play for the Cubs?
After five seasons in the Chicago Cubs minor league system, Andreoli was known for getting on base and stealing a few bags along the way. In 2016, he added power to his games, hitting 12 of his 20 career home runs. But his average dropped to .256 and strikeouts soared to 162. Still, his on-base (.374) and steals (43) improved. Andreoli started to put the pieces together.
More from Chicago Cubs News
- Cubs have a new late-inning shutdown arm in young Brandon Hughes
- After the Cubs traded him, Mychal Givens has been a hot mess for the Mets
- Cubs might have uncovered a diamond in the rough in Franmil Reyes
- Nelson Velazquez has a long-term role to play for the Cubs
- Do the Cubs really need to go spend on a superstar shortstop?
That trend continued on the international stage during the World Baseball Classic. In his first game, Andreoli homered in the first inning and tying the game with Mexico. He then approached the plate in the bottom of the ninth and knocked in the tying and winning run on a single.
For his time in the tournament, Andreoli batted .316 with three home runs and seven runs batted in. Both stats were Top 5 for all players. All told, he accounted for 26% of Italy’s runs in the WBC. It was a good audition for the young outfielder…
…For another team
What do the Chicago Cubs hold in John Andreoli? The chance to get another player in July. The fact is obvious and stated constantly: the outfield is crammed for the Cubs. Jason Heyward is under contract through 2018, with a $20 million player option for the following seasons. If his current performance trend continues, I do not see him running away from the cash window. Albert Almora is under contract until 2023. Kyle Schwarber, 2022. Plus, there is Matt Szczur, Kris Bryant, Ben Zobrist, and Jon Jay right now.
Furthermore, there are other prospects in the way. Eloy Jimenez is showing why he is the top prospect for the Chicago Cubs. With two homers, four RBI, and five runs scored, Jimenez is emerging as the next man up for the team. Closely followed by Ian Happ, who is also having a stellar spring.
When you add those facts along with the potential need for starting pitchers, you realize the need for quality trade pieces. Andreoli fits that mold. Should the experiment with Mike Montgomery or Brett Anderson reach a breaking point, and no player in the system is ready to be called upon, Andreoli is on the block. Manager Joe Maddon does not use speed on the bases for purposes of stealing. An American League team may find that trait as an asset.
It is exciting to watch young players in the Chicago Cubs system perform well. But, chances are that most may never see time at Wrigley Field. Try not to become attached, but celebrate their success while you can!