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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Adbert Alzolay wants to make sure the ninth inning belongs to him

Last season, former highly-regarded Cubs starting pitching prospect Adbert Alzolay emerged as the team's ninth-inning answer, quietly turning in the best season of his big league career.

He made 58 appearances, working to a 2.67 ERA and 3.02 FIP, while consistently avoiding any self-inflicted damage, evidenced by a 5.15 K/BB ratio and 1.016 WHIP. Although Counsell hasn't made anything official as far as the closer's role goes yet, the right-hander is doing everything in his power to make sure it belongs to him.

Alzolay boasts a 0.600 WHIP in five spring appearances and is yet to allow a run. Again, all of these numbers can be taken with a grain of salt because no sure thing that a good spring performance translates directly to a good regular season, but at least he hasn't done anything to cost himself the chance to close again for the Cubs in 2024.