Chicago Cubs: Dillon Maples could be undervalued bullpen weapon
By Jake Misener
Let the past be the past – eyes on the prize
As I mentioned, the Cubs have well over a dozen arms competing for Major League roster spots. That’s just not going to pan out. There’s bound to be 2-3 left disappointed when Spring Training ends and the regular season begins.
Evan Altman over at Cubs Insider has been all over Maples this winter – and with good reason. But you can see what he talks about when you watch recent interviews with the Cubs’ hard-throwing prospect.
"“Last year was pretty crazy, but I’ve moved on,” he told MLB.com. “That’s why I had that two-week period to sit back and let it soak in. Now, it’s, ‘All right, let’s go. Let’s have a good camp and work on what I need to work on. Last year is irrelevant.'”"
That’s the only mindset Maples can head into Sloan Park with next month. Last year doesn’t matter. As perfect of a year as 2016 was for the Chicago Cubs, they learned that very lesson time and time again last season. Granted, a 92-win, first-place season is nothing to scoff at, but the dominance from the year prior was gone.
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If Maples does what he’s capable of – and learns to control his pitches (thus, limiting walks), he could fight his way into the Cubs’ pen. It’s far from a sure thing that he will be the odd man out in 2018. But if he’s not, it means he stepped up in a way we haven’t yet seen from him.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait.