5 feel-good Chicago Cubs stories heading into Opening Day
With Spring Training coming to a close, the good vibes are kicking in as the Chicago Cubs enter the regular season. This team may not be the surefire contender we'd hope for in their third year of a rebuild, but it is radically better than what was put together last year. Between the new additions to the team and the budding prospects that make up the strongest Cubs farm system we've seen in years, it's hard not to get a little excited.
In a more positive year, it's no surprise then that the pre-season gave more feel-good stories to take into Opening Day. With the flurry of moves ahead of the season, good news came for many players and fans alike as the roster came together and everyone rounded out their Spring performances.
Before we dive into the season on Thursday at 1:20 p.m., let's take a look at the positive storylines to kick off 2023 on a high note.
Luis Torrens makes the Opening Day roster
Coming into Spring Training, it was definitely the understanding that the Cubs had brought in Dom Núñez and Luis Torrens as catching depth to help in case of injury to either of Yan Gomes or Tucker Barnhart. Neither of these guys was expected to make the big league roster out of camp, even if it was fair to assume they'd appear at some point. They were merely intriguing guys to have in the organization.
Color me pleasantly surprised, then, when Torrens tore the cover off the ball throughout the pre-season. He's never hit particularly well in the majors, posting a dismal 79 wRC+ in nearly 800 plate appearances. Between Seattle and San Diego, he's only had one above-average offensive season - his 2021 campaign where he managed a 101 wRC+. In Spring, however, the power came alive as he hit .273/.385/.636 with a pair of dingers in 24 plate appearances. That's a small sample, but it's intriguing nonetheless, and clearly, the Cubs thought so too, giving him a spot on the roster to start the year.
I'm a sucker for unexpected guys playing their way to an Opening Day job, so it's heartening to see Torrens get his shot. Kudos to Miles Mastrobuoni as well for also making it to Wrigley.