Chicago Cubs: Roster still holds some mystery to it

(Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Left-Handed Specialist

When a power hitting lefty is up to bat late in a game, teams like to call on that lefty specialist. The Cubs roster is no different. Though they have two lefthanders already identified in their pen, both pitch righties tougher than they do lefties. For this reason, you can expect Madden to find a spot for that late inning specialist on the 2018 roster.

The Contenders

Justin Wilson (incumbent), Randy Rosario, Dario Alvarez, Rob Zastryzny, Kyle Ryan

The Battle

Wilson was unhittable for Detroit last season but struggled once arriving in Chicago.  Zastryzny has never been able to grab hold of a permanent roster spot despite multiple call-ups. No reason to believe 2018 will be different in that respect.

The 29-year old Alvarez is one to watch as he more fits the mold of a true lefty-on-lefty assassin. He has a nasty slider that he often throws, which can vex left-handed hitters when it’s right. Ryan, who came over when he was DFA’d by Detroit earlier this offseason, actually has a surprisingly strong track record. Rosario is a promising young arm from the Twins’ system (first pitched as a 17-year-old in 2011) who is probably a year or two away from being a regular.

The Verdict

Wilson but only barely. While I agree with many that Alvarez has a shot to steal the roster spot, I also like Kyle Ryan more than most. Above my affinity for both of the new lefties in camp, though, is my belief that new Cubs Pitching Coach Jim Hickey will right Wilson. But keep an eye on Alvarez in triple-A and look for Ryan to get a shot on someone’s 40-man roster after he pitches well this spring, even if the Cubs don’t make room for him.