Chicago Cubs: After surprising in 2018, Rosario will look to make an impact in 2019.
Lefty Randy Rosario came up last year from Triple-A and started very well. Things started to slip a bit towards the stretch and ended the year with a 3.66 ERA, 1.5 WHIP and 4.68 FIP. The peripherals do not look good, but it is worth noting his 1.95 ERA in the first half and a .211 average against in his first 17 appearances.
Was his first few months a flash in the pan or does he have a spot here moving forward? Spring training he will look to make a strong impression. Right now the Cubs do not have a lot of lefty options in the pen, so Rosario being effective moving forward will be big.
If he can cut down his walks a bit and pitch more to weak contact in spring, then hopefully he carries it into the regular season. Do not expect him ever to be a strikeout machine, so weak contact is the key for him. Rosario looks to see his first full big-league season in 2019.
Chicago Cubs: A highly-talked about prospect looks to advance his career after injuries ended his 2018 season.
Alzolay is a career 3.44 minor league pitcher in 421 2/3 innings and has 68 MiLB starts under his belt. There is hope that if all goes well, he can see big league time in 2019. Spring training can hopefully give fans and the team a taste of what is to come for this young prospect.
Unfortunately, he hit a setback as The Athletic’s Sahadev Sharma reports that Alzolay will be delayed two weeks this spring after feeling something in his arm. Hopefully, he will work his way back and play a little bit on the big league squad in Cactus League play. He has a lot of potential and has gotten a lot of praise in his time in the minors.
Chicago Cubs: Will Victor Caratini reach his potential in 2019? They may need it.
Victor Cartini may not be on everyone’s list, but he is worth mentioning here. The 25-year old backstop was among the more notable prospects in the Cubs farm before playing 76 games last year. He would serve as the primary backup behind Willson Contreras and be overall disappointing. A .232/.293./.304 slash had people wondering if the Cubs will just get a veteran backup.
The Cubs can still sign one, there are guys available, but if not he would be the primary backup. It is worth noting that he ended the year looking improved behind the dish defensively and seemed to mesh with the pitchers better. However, there are still more questions than answers with him.
If Caratini can at least show more improvement defensively and show continued chemistry with the staff in spring ball, then maybe fans will feel a bit better going forward. He has to show it though, and this is the time to do it.