Chicago Cubs: Who is hot and who is not in spring
Chicago Cubs: Some fringe players are making a case for them to make the Opening Day roster so far
28-year old outfielder Ian Miller has only 12 MLB games under his belt in his career, but he is making the most of his playing time this spring. Going into Sunday, he had the most at-bats on the entire Cubs roster in Cactus League play. Putting up a .345/.441/.414 slash and seven stolen bases in that time, he is making himself a bit more known among avid Cubs followers. He might have a shot if he keeps it up to be a bench option.
This season could very well be the final shot for Almora to prove he has a future with the organization. His 2019 struggles which featured a .236/.271/.381 slash and a vast defensive regression have put him in a position where he needs to show he is worth keeping. So far, he is hitting .333/.385/.625 with a 1.010 OPS and two homers. He says he has changed his approach. Hopefully, it translates to the regular season.
Time for Ian Happ to show the world he is a valuable ballplayer. After spending much time in the minors in 2019, he looks to become an established MLB slugger. So far this spring, he is scolding the ball, putting up a .500/.522/.900 slash with two homers, 1.422 OPS and eight RBI. He has batted some leadoff this spring and played in center. We will not know if he is truly here to be that established MLB slugger until he shows it in the regular season consistently, but this is at least a good sign.
The team’s “big” free agent move is looking to rebound after suffering significant injury and missing all of 2019. Cubs fans would love to see the Souza Jr. who hit 30 homers for the Rays in 2017, but any sort of production at the plate from a non-starter would honestly be welcomed. So far, he is slashing .316/.409/.421 with a .830 OPS. He looks healthy and seems confident, which is great to see.
After a breakout season in 2019, the Cubs backup catcher has not missed a beat in Cactus League play with the bat. He is hitting .438/.526/.813 with a 1.339 OPS and three doubles. He seems to be fitting in with the team very well and has built a great relationship with Yu Darvish. It is looking perfect for the Cubs catcher core heading into 2020.
The 26-year old utility man is making a bit of a name for himself this spring. He is a 25th round pick in 2016 by the Cubs and played in 126 games in Triple-A last year. While he is likely not getting a shot at the bigs to start 2020, his .409/.444/.591 slash and team-leading 12 RBIs is worth giving a shout out.