5 Cubs players who are putting up eye-catching numbers this spring

The early returns from key relievers have been impressive and a pair of potential bench bats are duking it out for a potential spot on the Opening Day roster.

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
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Jose Cuas is ready to play a key role in the Cubs bullpen in 2024

Acquired at the trade deadline last summer in exchange for outfielder Nelson Velazquez (who subsequently went on to be a force at the plate for the Royals, hitting 14 home runs in 40 games), Jose Cuas was serviceable, but hardly dominant down the stretch for the Cubs.

The side-arming right-hander finished with a 3.04 ERA in 27 appearances for Chicago, but his near-5.00 FIP suggests a decent amount of good fortune. Now gearing up for his first full season with the Cubs, Cuas has looked locked in during his spring training appearances, giving hope he could be a key middle-reliever for Counsell this year.

In a half-dozen Cactus League appearances, the 28-year-old is yet to allow a run, with 8 strikeouts to just 2 walks in six innings of work. Still pre-arb eligible, Cuas is controllable for four seasons after 2024, so if he can settle in and cut down on the free passes, he could be a cost-controlled arm for Chicago for the next half-decade. He's given us a lot to like this spring and the hope is that carries into the regular season.