Chicago Cubs: Happ and Candelario picking up where camp left off
It was a great Spring Training for the Chicago Cubs, especially as they continue to build for the future. Two prospects are still showing what is possible.
Spring Training was just what the Chicago Cubs’ front office needed. And fans too. Players competing for the 25-man roster proved their work is paying off. Kyle Schwarber is adjusting to leading off, with Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo providing a bit of power. And don’t forget Addison Russell. Add to this the progression of Albert Almora Jr., and you have the makings of a solid roster.
It was not just the regulars. Several of the prospects for the Cubs performed well, leading to speculation on if they could make it onto the MLB roster. Two such prospects are continuing their stellar springs in the minors and are well on their way to being called up.
Making a statement
During camp, both Ian Happ and Jeimer Candelario showed why they are top prospects in the Cubs organization. While the final average for Candelario was merely .233, his ability to hit for extra bases provided a spark. As for Happ, spring camp was one massive coming-out party. Hitting for a .383/.441/.738 slash line led him to be one of the last players sent to the minors. With five home runs, seven doubles, 21 RBI and a couple of stolen bases, the NL is on notice.
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Starting the Minor Leagues season has not slowed the pair down. Especially Candelario. In three games, the third baseman for the Iowa Cubs is hitting .308, with a double, a trouble, and two home runs. He also had 10 RBI. All the RBI and home runs have come in the last two games. Just a normal night in the office.
As for Happ, he also went deep in each of the last two games. And, while he does not have the RBI totals of his team mate, each time he got on base, he scored. His strikeout rate is slightly down, however, it is very early in the season. But, based on what we saw in Spring Training, Happ will produce.
Speculation abounds on what is next for the two future MLB players. With a trip to Boston at the end of April, some believe Happ will DH for the series. While not a poor idea, the depth already exists on the team. Getting more at-bats for Jon Jay and Albert Almora makes more sense. With the DH allowed, Javier Baez may get the start at second, with Ben Zobrist at DH or in the outfield. The only drawback is that such a move removes one player from the bench.
However, it is likely that one or both Candelario and Happ see time in Chicago in 2017. If an injury occurs, the team will call their names. The versatility of Happ makes him a more compelling draw, especially being a switch hitter.
Next: Cubs grabbed early lead and never looked back
Regardless of which player the Chicago Cubs call first, both appear destined for great things in their careers. With continuing to prove their value, that day is soon approaching.