Chicago Cubs: Week 1 spring training report
In the first week of spring training, pitchers usually aren’t bringing their “A-plus” stuff. Batters are more focused on timing than results. Still, it is always noteworthy to recognize those who are off to a good start.
Backup catcher candidate Chris Gimenez has hit the ground running in his quest to earn a roster spot. In just eight at-bats, Gimenez has knocked in a team-leading seven runs. All four of his hits have come with runners in scoring position.
More notably on the batting side is Ian Happ, who has been handling leadoff duties most games. Thus far, Happ is batting .500 and has hit three homers. Given this opportunity, he is staking his claim to get a good long look as the table setter and regular centerfielder once camp breaks.
Happ has looked in control and confident at the plate and in the field. Meanwhile, Albert Almora has struggled. Hitless in his seven at-bats and shaky in the field, Almora has to know Happ has a stranglehold on the CF job.
A newly-svelte Kyle Schwarber is offering a new dynamic – speed – to his repertoire. He continues to work counts, walking a team-high three times. But he has also struck out five times in 11 plate appearances. He will need to improve on that if he wants to avoid a platoon situation in left field.
David Bote is one current roster outsider that has shown some things in week one. While making the roster may be a long shot for Bote, he has had a great start this spring. He has shown great plate patience and does not look overmatched. Bote may find himself in the majors at some point in 2018.
Here are a few other notable offensive performers so far this spring:
IF Mike Freeman (.500 avg, 6 runs scored, 6 RBI)
IF Ryan Court (.500, 2B, HR, 4 runs)
OF Jason Heyward (0/5, 2 SO)