Cubs: 3 storylines to watch as pitchers and catchers report

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Chicago Cubs
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Cubs: Team needs Jake Arrieta and Trevor Williams to be effective

Chicago is placing a good deal of stock in both Jake Arrieta and Trevor Williams being capable of eating innings. It certainly is a gamble.

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Arrieta has dealt with some injuries in each of his last two years with the Philadelphia Phillies. More notably, the velocity on is sinker is down nearly three ticks from 2015, and opponents have hammering that pitch.

The 2015 NL Cy Young winner actually had some success with the slider last year, a positive sign given that was his wipeout pitch of old. But he will need to be more crafty in order to get hitters out.

Williams’ numbers have been downright ugly. He had a 6.18 ERA and 1.57 WHIP in 11 starts this past season, one year after posting a 5.38 ERA in 2019.

The 29-year-old is capable of stringing together quality innings. He still ranked in the 70th percentile in average exit velocity against, and his sinker has strong vertical bite. But it will be imperative for Williams to reestablish his changeup as an out pitch.