Looking back at the last 10 years of Cubs spring training standouts
By Dan O'Keefe
Chicago Cubs spring training MVPs of years past: 2014 – Luis Valbuena
At first glance, Luis Valbuena’s statline isn’t all that impressive: .244/.333/.780 in 15 games. However, every one of those 10 hits were of the extra-base variety, including six home runs. Anthony Rizzo, either the Cubs’ second or third best player that spring, “only” hit two dingers in his 53 at-bats that spring, with Mike Olt, the other candidate for runner-up, knocking five out of the park, but needing 12 more at-bats to do so. This spring was difficult to pick a winner for, as none of the Cubs had truly impressive runs, but the fact that Valbuena had more home runs than singles gives him the crown.
Did he sustain it?
Functionally, yes. While he obviously didn’t keep that absurd home run to single ratio up, he did serve as a consistent day to day piece of the rebuilding club. As our very own Nick Blazek wrote for us in 2014, “Somewhat sneakily, Valbuena’s numbers have been overlooked. He finished second on the Cubs in HRs (16), third in hits (119), and third in RBI (51)” behind only All-Stars Rizzo and Starlin Castro.
Tragically, Valbuena was killed in a robbery-fueled car crash in December 2018.