The Cubs Column: Spring Training Update

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images/http://dealbook.nytimes.com/

 

Written by: Matt Shock (@shockwave_music)

Edited by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)

Follow us on Twitter! @OS_Report

Like Us on Facebook!

Well, we’re about half way through Spring Training, so it’s time to check in on our beloved Cubbies and see just how those up and coming prospects are doing so far.

Prospects Sent Down

Let’s start by looking at the players that will not be breaking camp with the big club this year.  So far, of the big name prospects, Arismendy Alcantara, Logan Watkins, Matt Szczur, Jorge Soler, Kris Bryant, and Albert Almora have all been assigned to minor league teams or sent over to the minor league camp.  The only difference between those two options is that if you are sent to a minor league team, you’re still on the 40-man roster, and if you’re sent to camp, you’re not.

At any rate, none of these names are very surprising.  Most of them were playing at the single-A level last season, so nobody expected them to see big league action this year.  The good part is that all of these players seem to have moved up a level or two, so that’s a good sign.

Promising Signs

Right now, Javier Baez seems to be the golden child of the Cubs organization.  So far, he’s tied with Mike Olt for home runs this spring, and he seems determined to break camp with the Cubs.  Right now, he’s seeing a lot of action at second and third, but they expect him to play shortstop if he breaks camp with the triple-A Iowa Cubs.  My hunch is that even if he does go to Iowa, he’ll become a permanent fixture at second base, and will move up to the big leagues when Darwin Barney either tanks or is traded.

The vision problems that Mike Olt faced last year with the Texas Rangers appear to be a thing of the past.  Although he hasn’t played any third base yet this spring (the Cubs are being cautious about putting too much strain too fast on his throwing shoulder), he is expected to start taking reps at third within the next few days.  I fully expect him to win the third base job this year…which is good…because I won’t have to suffer through watching Luis Valbuena any longer.  Anyhow, if Olt ends up being a solid contributor at the hot corner, the Cubs definitely made out like bandits getting him in the Matt Garza trade.

Injuries

So far, the only real injury this spring has been a minor hamstring strain suffered by Starlin Castro.  The Cubs are saying that this is truly a minor strain and that they are just being cautious with it in order to ensure that Castro is ready for opening day.  I would expect to see him a little during the last week of spring training, but only if he’s 100% ready to go.

Potential Trades

Right now, the good folks over at the Bleacher Report expect five players to be traded out of the Cubs organization at or before the trade deadline.  To me, this all depends on how the season goes.  If like last year, the Cubs are tanking badly, I expect all of them to be gone and cheaper guys to be filling their place.  These five players are: Jeff Samardzija, Nate Schierholtz, Darwin Barney, Jason Hammel, and Jose Veras.  Simply put, all these players could potentially put contending teams over the hump.  Contending teams are always selling prospects, which we all know the Cubs have been buying like hot cakes.

I’m not really sure how the season will go for the Cubbies this year.  I would obviously like to see some improvement from last season, but as we all know…the all knowing Epstein is still asking the faithful fans to be patient.  Look out Cubs fans, we could be in for another long season.