Cubs Spring Training Recap: In case you haven’t been paying attention to what is taking place in the Cactus League, the Chicago Cubs have been on an absolute tear. Of course, these games don’t actually count for anything, but the Boys in Blue look ready to begin the 2021 campaign.
The Cubs lead the Cactus League with a 12-5 record, and David Ross has the team looking poised and ready for the Season Opener. Perhaps this team could end up being a playoff contender after all, especially if the offense stays hot.
Battle Heating Up at Second Base
The biggest battle currently taking place in Cubs camp is for the Opening Day starter at second base. Both Nico Hoerner and David Bote have put together a terrific Spring Training, making the final decision extremely difficult on Grandpa Rossy.
Nico Hoerner is clearly the best defensive option of the two players, but the youngster has also put together a great few weeks at the plate. Bote has been on a tear of late, and he keeps making the case to be an everyday starter.
If Nico wins the battle, Bote will likely still make the roster as a utility man and someone that can be a pinch-hitter off of the bench. Hoerner could ultimately be optioned to the alternate site if the Cubs aren’t convinced that his hitting is figured out.
This situation should play itself out over the next few days, but having two solid options is better than having none.
Starting Staff Looks Ready
Kyle Hendricks is the clear ace of the Cubs’ starting rotation, and most believed that the Cubs would be searching for competent starters after “The Professor.” If Spring Training is any indication, the Cubs could have one of the most underrated starting rotations in the National League.
Jake Arrieta looks ready to have another monster season with the Cubs, and he has also taught Adbert Alzolay a new grip on his curveball. The Cubs aren’t going to overpower teams with their starting rotation, but this team should be able to get some outs.
General manager Jed Hoyer has brought in a number of new players to shore up the defense, and pitching to contact will be a key for the starting staff all season long.
Strop Makes His Return
It was just two weeks ago that Pedro Strop’s future with the Cubs looked to be in jeopardy after he violated COVID-19 protocols and was forced to leave camp. Well, Strop is now back with the Cubs, and he could be an important part of the bullpen during the 2021 season.
Strop has been one of the best relievers in the history of the Chicago Cubs, and he is beloved in the locker room. His presence alone should provide a huge boost for the entire pitching staff, but he still has the ability to get outs for the Cubs in key situations.
And yes, Hats to the Left!
Bullpen Cuts Have Begun
Most baseball experts believed that the Chicago Cubs entered the 2021 season without enough solid arms in the bullpen, but the team is comfortable with the arms at this point. In fact, a number of relievers were just optioned two the Minor League level, and there were some notable names on that list.
James Norwood, Kyle Ryan, and Ryan Steele were all optioned to Iowa Triple-A East, but those three pitchers will likely all spend some time in Chicago this summer. Brailyn Marquez was optioned to Tennessee Double-A, as the young prospect just is not quite ready to be in the Major League bullpen.
Manager David Ross has stated several times that he is comfortable with the bullpen at this time, and he actually believes it could be a strength of this team when the real games begin.
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