Cubs Spring Training: The first week of Spring Training was a good one for the Chicago Cubs, and perhaps it will set the stage for a surprising 2021 season. Even though these games don’t technically count for anything, the Cubs posted a 4-2-1 record over their first seven games.
Fans are able to attend games in the Cactus League, and Cubs fans had to like what they saw from the offense this past week. The Cubs posted a .468 slugging percentage during the first seven games, which is 6th best among all teams in baseball.
Nico Hoerner is trying to win the starting job at second base, and he appears to have a leg up on the competition at this point. Hoerner went 7-10 from the plate this past week, and including a home run in those seven hits.
Anthony Rizzo appears to be ready for the upcoming season, as he blasted a pair of long home runs during the first seven games. Rizzo is coming in off of a disappointing 2020 campaign, but he could be due for a huge turnaround in 2021.
Kris Bryant and Javier Baez are still looking for their first home run of the Spring, but that could come as early as this week. Baez suffered an injury scare earlier this week when he was hit by a pitch in the forearm, but all signs point to him being okay.
The regular starters should start to see more playing time in the weeks to come, and you won’t see as many random names if you tune into Marquee Network. It was a solid start for the Cubs this week, but it’s clear that more work is needed to be prepared for Opening Day.
Starting Pitching Shines
There were some major questions surrounding the starting rotation heading into Spring, but the first look at the starting staff was impressive. Adbert Alzolay did struggle this past week, but he should find his way into the starting rotation when the season begins.
Kyle Hendricks, Trevor Williams, and Jake Arrieta all gave up zero runs during their first start in Spring Training, and that could spell could things for the season ahead. Hendricks is the clear ace of the starting rotation, but having Arrieta back just makes everything feel right once again.
The starting rotation will start to ramp things up a bit in the coming weeks, and it will be interesting to see how they do the second time out. This is a brand new starting rotation outside of Hendricks, but it could become a strength of this team.
Roster Taking Shape
GM Jed Hoyer has expressed that the team is not looking to make any other big moves during Spring Training, which means that the 2021 roster is starting to take shape. Kris Bryant will be at third base to begin the season, which is welcome news for Cubs fans.
The Cubs did just sign Eric Sogard to a free agent deal, and he is expected to add even more competition at the second base position. Sogard struggled last season with the Brewers, but he could provide a solid bat at the top of the Cubs lineup.
Oh No, Pedro
It wasn’t all good news for the Cubs, as the team will be without a relief pitcher for an undisclosed period of time. Pedro Strop, one of the best relief pitchers in Cubs history, broke COVID-19 protocols this weekend, and will now be in quarantine and could face other disciplinary action from the league.
Strop was seen out with two members of the Cleveland Indians team, a team that continues to struggle to get their players to follow rules. It’s unclear how long Strop will be out, but he was trying to battle for a spot in the bullpen.
Cubs fans don’t want to see the team cut Strop loose, but it is time for him to get his act together if he wants to remain with the team.