The one thing about Chicago Cubs spring training? All the roster spots that got put on hold
The Chicago Cubs got a little bit of bad news with the stoppage. With all the competition going on, some of the battles got put on hold. With not going back till mid-May, they’re likely going to have an ‘extended spring training.’ Meaning their not going to be back until June, at best. I’ll admit, I’ll got cancer, a second resection. I’m ‘social distancing’ myself from it. But the coronavirus is flatly ridiculous. But I digress. It’s neither here nor there.
Back to baseball. Tyler Chatwood has had an exceptional spring training, and then with Alec Mills hot on his tail? David Ross said that Chatwood was leading the race. And with Mills out of options, he was likely to go the bullpen. Now, Chatwood and Mills could flip at some point; it’s not out of the question. But Chatwood has his grip firmly on the fifth spot in the rotation.
The bullpen is going to be different this year. The four virtual locks were Jeremy Jeffress, Rowan Wick, Craig Kimbrel and Kyle Ryan–barring injury. Rex Brothers, Dillon Maples, Trevor Megill, Mills, Brandon Morrow, Casey Sadler, Ryan Tepera, Duane Underwood Jr., Brad Wieck and Dan Winkler are all competing.
Mills, Tepera, Sadler and Winkler are the ‘locks’ for now. Wieck has got a chance to recover from heart surgery in February, but I wouldn’t bet on it. Tepera and Winkler have big-league experience, which leads their charge over the bullpen. Mills is the standard–plus he’s out of options. So he will go to the bullpen. He’s head and shoulders above the rest.
Ian Happ and Albert Almora Jr. are in the run for centerfield, and it’s no question who it is. Happ, all the way. Almora has had a good season (.276/.323/.517with an OPS of .840.) Happ’s slash line? .481/.500/.815 with an OPS of1.315 with two home runs and 11 RBI. Happ has the confidence of his manager Ross. Almora may get a ‘timeshare’ deal, or begin his season at Triple-A. Either way, it’s beneficial for him–especially starting at Triple-A.
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We will be looking at the second base position plus the 26th man in the coming weeks. The second base position has a bunch of guys clamoring for the top spot. And the 26th man will depend on what Ross will do. It’s going to be an exciting eight weeks, if that.