MESA, AZ – Spring training is a wonderful time of year for baseball fans, as they get to watch their favorite teams develop in a fan-friendly atmosphere. But for the average followers, the ones who don’t necessarily have the time, or patience, to stay on top of the continuous everyday moves, it can be an underwhelming time. Is every roster move important? Well, yes. But some are more important than others, and thus, deserve more notoriety.
So, don’t be afraid Cubs fans. Here’s everything you need to know.
As of yesterday (March 13), the Cubs roster was trimmed down to 50 players. None of the cuts or reassignments were surprising, in that most of them dealt with non-roster invitees. But here’s what went down:
Aaron Brooks, Jose Rosario and Jack Leathersich were optioned to Triple-A Iowa. Pitcher Duane Underwood Jr. was optioned to Double-A Tennessee. Non-roster invitees Seth Frankoff, Casey Kelly, Jhondaniel Medina and Conor Mullee, and left-hander Zac Rosscup were reassigned to the minor league camp. Maikel Cleto was granted his release.
Spring training also gives organizations and fans the opportunity to see their coveted young players develop.
One of those players is 22-year-old switch hitting infielder Ian Happ. To say Happ is having a good spring would be a major understatement, considering his eye-opening batting average of .467, along with three homers and nine RBIs in 15 games. It’s easy to get lost when thinking about the Cubs’ young core, but Happ is doing everything right to stand out among the crowd.
Happ isn’t the only Cubs prospect raking this spring, as Eloy Jimenez, the Cubs’ top-ranked prospect, is also having himself a fantastic stretch. The 20-year-old outfielder is batting .333 with two homers and four RBIs, according to MLB.com.
Off the field, the Cubs are doing everything they can to set themselves up to retain their precious prospects in the near future. They recently gave MVP Kris Bryant a raise, one that now pays him $1.05 million dollars for the 2017 season.
“I felt like I earned it,” Bryant said Monday of his contract. “I felt like just seeing where I fall with guys that were in my situation, I feel respected. It’s nice. But all that stuff is good.” Good move Cubbies, lets try to avoid frustrating a deserving player who is soon to be eligible for arbitration. Take notes, New York.
Jason Heyward‘s hitting woes continue this spring, as his batting average of .077 is cringe-worthy for Cubs fans. After a disappointing 2016, to say the least, Heyward looks to rebound in 2017 and even changed his swing considerably in the offseason. Patience is the key here with Heyward, as fans and management can only hope his dismal spring doesn’t translate to the regular season.
The World Baseball Classic is also currently underway and serves essentially as a spring training for those involved. Although some players are opposed to the tournament, like Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander, it provides fans the opportunity to see there favorite players play for their respected countries.
Current Cubs Javier Baez and John Andreoli are playing well in the classic. Andreoli’s OPS north of .900 is optimal, as he looks primed to join the Cubs major-league roster at some point this season. Hector Rondon pitching for team Venezuela rounds out the group of Cubs starters participating.
So that’s it. There’s everything you need to know right now. Stay tuned for more Cubs spring training updates.
The Cubs return to action today in Mesa as they take on the Milwaukee Brewers at 3:05 PM.