- Tyler Chatwood is having the best spring of any pitcher in the Cubs system. He had one walk in this first appearance, and hasn’t allowed a free pass since. In 3 appearances, Tyler has logged 8 innings with 8 hits and 5 strikeouts. I’m completely out on Chatwood in a rotation for the Cubs unless it’s an emergency, but I think there’s a path on a 25-man roster for a swingman like Chatwood. The obvious problem is we already have one of those, but maybe there will be a team that is watching Chatwood solve his problems (perhaps) and is willing to take even a little of his contract. I think Chatwood even after last season could have received a 2 year/$4 million “get well” contract so I’m not ruling out getting some relief from his contract. I haven’t watched him throw a baseball in spring, so for all I know it’s just luck, but Tyler literally did not have a stretch of 8 innings without walking at least 2 batters last season. I looked it up.
- The year is 2028. Kyle Schwarber has been out of the league for 5 years after never putting it together. President Trump Jr. is getting ready for his 2nd term. The world is ablaze. Deep in rural Indiana, there’s a haggard-looking man in a bunker, eating a cold can of beans. The man is me. All he does is mutter the words “Schwarber’s hitting .300/.400/.600 this season. Schwarber’s hitting .300/.400/.600 this season.” I like Schwarber more than some of his family members. Despite nearly 600 plate appearances screaming to the contrary, I still believe in Schwarber’s bat being among the most elite in all of baseball. At the risk of sounding stupid, Schwarber’s only real issue is his inability to make contact with pitches out of the strike zone. If he could figure out how to foul off a freaking pitch, his patience + power would play even more than they do now. It didn’t feel like it due to his struggles in high-leverage situations, but Schwarber hit .238/.356/.467 last year. He was a 3.2 fWAR player! Valuable on offense and defense! He’s absolutely murdering the ball in spring training right now. He has a .364 nOBP this spring training (nOBP is not On-Base Percentage).
- Kris Bryant is healthy again, and it is showing in his Spring Training. Two homers, lots of walks, few strikeouts. In the comments, dmick posited that Bryant’s positive regression is the most important factor for the Cubs next year, and I whole-heartedly agree. I guess I shouldn’t assume he’ll put up MVP-numbers in 2019, but I kinda do. Nobody ever said I wasn’t an idiot.
- It doesn’t feel any better that Addison Russell is still on the Cubs. It’s maybe even unfair, but he’s sort of a totem of the shitty off-season the Cubs have had with all of the struggles to find money or people with a strong moral compass. I almost don’t even care how Russell is performing this year (he’s having a fine spring training) – it’s just a constant reminder of how baseball isn’t the escape that we want it to be.
- Ian Happ has 21 AB and is batting .143/.182/.190. That’s not great. On the one hand, who cares – it’s 21 meaningless at-bats. On the other hand, I’d obviously rather he actual reach base.
- Who is closing for the Cubs this year? One of the problems with this offseason is that we didn’t add to the bullpen, a clear need for this team. Unless you’re really high on Chatwood or Strop, there isn’t a clear answer to this question. I’m sure we’ll find someone there, but when Craig Kimbrel is out there waiting to be signed, it makes me angry that the Cubs are wondering if Xavier Cedeno can handle the 9th.
Baseball Prospectus’ playoff odds: 17.6%