Chicago Cubs boast plenty of under-the-radar storylines entering season

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: How will Loretta, Iapoce and Hottovy impact the squad?

While Maddon has garnered plenty of attention throughout the offseason and Spring Training, far less attention has been given to the new coaches on his staff.

Bench coach Mark Loretta, hitting coach Anthony Iapoce and pitching coach Tommy Hottovy will all be in their first years in their respective roles. They have rather large shoes to fill.

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Former bench coach Brandon Hyde was beloved among the players, but he left to become the manager of the woe-begotten Baltimore Orioles. Loretta is known for his ability to relate in the clubhouse as a respected former player, but how he learns to coach will be more important than ever in creating a positive atmosphere.

Meanwhile, veteran pitching coach Jim Hickey oversaw a staff that posted the third-best ERA in baseball, only to be replaced for the more analytical Hottovy, despite the latter having zero experience as a big-league pitching coach.

And although Chili Davis did not mesh well with Cub hitters, he remains a respected figure in the game, and Iapoce is already expected to follow in the footsteps of former launch angle proponent John Mallee in getting Chicago’s young hitters back on their feet.

Given the struggles of the bullpen and the lineup down the stretch in 2018, the coaches on Maddon’s staff could face immense scrutiny if the players fail to make the necessary adjustments this year.