This one had a familiar feel to it, it felt a lot like the game last night, you know, the one that ended poorly. The result was different tonight, mainly because of the job Adam Warren, and Hector Rondon did out of the bullpen. Kyle Hendricks was so very good tonight, and he was one out away from getting his team into the eighth inning. The final line on Hendricks; 6.2 innings worked, giving up two runs on four hits while walking one, and striking out five,
His counterpart Zack Greinke didn’t fare so well as the Cubs jumped on him early, scoring three times in the first, and never looking back. Anthony Rizzo, and Kris Bryant each had an RBI in the first, a single for Rizzo and a double for Bryant. Miguel Montero pushed the Cubs lead to three with a sacrifice fly, and Zobrist smacked an RBI double in the fourth to close out the scoring.
Great chance for the Cubs to move to 5-1 on the season, and this road trip tomorrow as Jake Arrieta gets the ball.
It wasn’t the desired result for the Cubs but there were plenty of things to like in the Cubs spring training opener today against the Brewers. Travis Wood, Kyle Hendricks, Clayton Richard, Rex Brothers, C.J. Riefenhauser, and Spencer Patton combined to four hit the Brewers while walking one, and striking out thirteen. The bats were slow to get going in this one as the Cubs group of hitters could only push across one run on seven hits. Javier Baez got the start in center today, and struggled in the early going. He played an out (maybe a double) into a triple right off the bat, then one hitter later he dropped a fly ball, it’ll get better.
Some of today’s standouts:
Some of my best memories at this blog have been writing and reporting about the Cubs minor league system because of how good it has been. Leading up to last year it was really the only thing to get excited about as the Major League team was subpar at best. Now the Cubs are World Series favorites, and the prospect rankings are not as top heavy but the talent is apparent throughout. That’s part of what makes this year so fun, winning at the major league level and still seeing a tremendous amount of organizational talent in the system.
Here’s how MLB Pipeline breaks it down (link to the list)
- Gleyber Torres – SS
- Willson Contreras – C
- Ian Happ – 2B/OF
- Duane Underwood – RHP
- Albert Almora – OF
- Billy McKinney – OF
- Jeimer Candelario – 3B
- Dylan Cease – RHP
- Oscar de la Cruz – RHP
- Eloy Jimenez – OF
- Pierce Johnson – RHP
- Donnie Dewes – OF
- Bryan Hudson – LHP
- J. Wilson – OF
- Eddy Martinez – OF
- Carl Edwards Jr. – RHP
- Justin Steele – LHP
- Mark Zagunis – OF
- Ryan Williams – RHP
- Dan Vogelbach – 1B
- Trevor Clifton – RHP
- Jake Stinnett – RHP
- Carson Sands – LHP
- Jen-Ho Tseng – RHP
- Victor Caratini – C
- Christian Villanueva – 3B/1B
- Corey Black – RHP
- Jacob Hannemann – OF
- Brad Markey – RHP
- Josh Conway – RHP
I really can’t begin to tell you how excited I am to keep an eye on all the arms that are on this list. I really feel like there are a number of pitchers on this list that are close to making a major impact in the system, and eventually on the big league roster. Duane Underwood (#4), Pierce Johnson (#11), Carl Edwards Jr. (#16), and Ryan Williams (#19) all have a great chance to be pitching on the North Side this year. I mentioned that the prospects near the top of this list might not have the same allure as a Kris Bryant, or Anthony Rizzo but they are players who will be part of the next wave of big league talent. I wouldn’t be surprised if Willson Contreras (#2) sees time with the Cubs this year as the backup catcher, or splitting time with Montero/Schwarber depending on what day it is. Please don’t sleep on Albert Almora, a healthy 2016 will go a long way to seeing if he is indeed the CF of the future for the Cubs.
There are plenty of reasons why I love this time of year. The weather is starting to warm up (marginally), spring training is just kicking off, and fantasy baseball is emerging from its off-season hibernation.
If you are in to fantasy baseball then I suggest you keep reading because I will provide some knowledge from one of the best brains in the game, Mr. Bret Sayre from Baseball Prospectus; follow him on twitter @dynastyguru). Bret specifically focuses on dynasty league rankings so you can expect that these rankings were put together with the idea that you might be freezing/keeping these players after this year. Typically that could mean that a player with a better future ahead of him might be more valuable in the long run than a player expected to achieve greater success in 2016. That’s just a heads up as some of you might notice that these rankings could be a little different than your average run of the mill fantasy baseball rankings. Because this is a Cubs blog we are going to focus on where Bret has said Cubs in his rankings, get excited!
** Rankings listed next to player are the positional ranking, not overall player ranking. Notes about the ranking are my own.
2. Kyle Schwarber – All the way up to second, that’s pretty awesome. Obviously a popular topic is whether or not Schwarber will stick at catcher, regardless Schwarber should have eligibility at C heading into this year’s draft. If he does stick at catcher or at least has the eligibility there then his value is through the roof compared to if he was strictly an outfielder. His value would still be high, but you aren’t going to see the numbers he is going to put up from the position behind the plate typically.
14. Miguel Montero – Miggy falls just outside the normal range for your everyday starting catcher (typically top 10-12 are going to be your #1). It’s not a bad value for Miggy as he is still going to get a large amount of playing time in the middle of a lineup that looks to be very dangerous heading into 2016.
31. Willson Contreras – The Cubs number one prospect is getting some love from Bret and looks like someone to target late in drafts because of his future value behind the plate.
2. Anthony Rizzo – Only Paul Goldschmidt ranks ahead of Rizzo which seems reasonable giving how awesome that guy is. I love the ranking for Rizzo and it makes a lot of sense because he seems to be getting better with each season and now sits in the middle of a lineup that is ripe for production for the foreseeable future. Entering his age 26 season Rizzo looks to improve upon some gaudy numbers from last year, (38 doubles, 31 homers, 101 RBI, 17 stolen bases, 78 walks, 94 runs).
23. Dan Vogelbach – I’m not surprised that Vogelbach continues to receive favorable rankings in the dynasty leagues. The big man at first base is a threat across the board but he’ll probably have to find another team to play for in the National League, or move to the American League as first base/DH are his only options.
9. Javier Baez – Baez has always been an intriguing option but this year his value takes a bit of a hit because of the acquisition of Ben Zobrist and the versatile Cubs roster. That doesn’t mean that Baez is void of value, he made improvements to his game last year and has been rumored to play a little CF this year. The more time on the field the better for Baez and his owners moving forward.
18. Ben Zobrist – The newcomer to the Cubs has never really had a ton of value at one position because he is so versatile. Teaming up with Joe Maddon this year means that Zobrist will be utilized to his full potential wherever the Cubs skipper needs him. Because of that I expect him to be in the lineup the majority of time which will give Zobrist plenty of value to be drafted as a utility/bench guy this year.
32. Arismendy Alcantara – Yes, he does still exist! Alcantara has been floating around these lists for a few years and is kind of the forgotten man in the Cubs organization. He still has a World of talent but needs to prove he belongs on the field as the next wave of Cubs prospects are nipping at his heels.
2. Kris Bryant – Depending on what kind of league you play in Bryant might be the number one overall pick. No one in the game can match the pure power that he has, but he comes in on this list right behind Manny Machado. The fact that 2015 could be the bottom of the barrel in terms of production is enough to invest highly in Bryant as the cornerstone of your fantasy franchise.
34. Jeimer Candelario – The thing that has impressed me with Candelario is that he is a prospect that has seen a fair amount of failure only to learn from it and get better. Candelario has made some solid strides in the past year or so which gives him some value moving forward.
4. Addison Russell – I still contend that when it is all said and done Addison Russell might be the best of the bunch when it comes to the recent group of Cubs prospects. Russell does everything well, and flashed brilliance in 2015 before seeing his season end early in the playoffs due to an injury. I see no reason why Russell can’t get better with experience as he has shown the ability to make adjustments through his minor league career.
25. Gleyber Torres – Don’t look now but the Cubs have another shortstop that is making noise in the minors. Torres is the next big thing coming out of the Cubs’ system and he could be ready to make some sort of impact earlier than initially expected as he made it all the way to High-A Myrtle Beach last year as an 18 year old. Torres is definitely a guy that I would have no problem stashing in a minor league spot and waiting to see that investment pay off in a big way.
Once the full outfielder rankings, and pitching rankings are released I will put something similar together for you. Thanks for reading!
After losing the lead in the top of the ninth, the Cubs, and more specifically Kris Bryant, found a way to win it in the bottom half. With a dinger of course.
Kris Bryant got the Cubs on the board early in this one as he destroyed a hanging curveball way out of Petco Park in the first. Such an effortless display of power, wow.
Effortless, just puts the bat on the ball, and it’s gone. Sure the wind is blowing out, but that shows you what kind of power that Kris Bryant has, wow.