The recap: Cubs should be fun to watch, Stroman looked strong in mock outing, MLB could see surge

“You can see the morning, but I can see the light.” – Bachman Turner overdrive, Let it ride

Tomorrow is baseball’s premier real Opening Day since 2019, or at least that’s how the league runs it. We had the pandemic in 2020 and last year fans were not allowed in many stadiums which still had coronavirus protocols in place. If you were picky you could say the start of this year has been postponed due to the lockdown, but why rain on Rob Manfred’s show?

Stadiums will be packed across the country for games tomorrow and Friday because hope is eternal, and the expanded playoffs mean a playoff berth isn’t out of the question, except in Arizona. , Baltimore, Oakland, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. Depending on how the ping pong ball bounces, these are likely five of your six lottery teams for the 2023 draft, the first to tank among the Cubs, Nationals, Rockies, Athletics and Guardians likely to join them. I don’t believe the North Siders are going to tank this year, though.

The Cubs are a tough team to project. They could be a lot better than last year’s 71-91 team, but it will take surprise seasons from Clint Frazier, Drew Smyly, Nico Hoerner, Justin Steele and Alec Mills. Chicago will also count on bouncy seasons from Jason Heyward and Kyle Hendricks, more than two months of major league production from Ian Happ and a quick adaptation to American baseball from Seiya Suzuki. If Nick Madrigal can be the team’s first bonafide hitter since Dexter Fowler left town, that would be a big help.

As for things the Cubs can reasonably count on, Frank Schwindel should keep hitting, Marcus Stroman will be the most effective starter on the team, and the bullpen should be just as good as last season. Chicago’s roster will look a bit more formidable once Brennen Davis arrives, but they’ll still struggle against right-handers — especially those armed with big, fastballs — as they still don’t have much left-handed pop. .

By my reckoning, the Cubs will have as many as 20 players on this year’s Opening Day roster who weren’t there at this time last year. Time will tell if Stroman, Smyly, Madrigal, Suzuki, Frazier, Wade Miley, Daniel Norris, Mychal Givens, Yan Gomes and David Robertson are better than Zach Davies, Jake Arrieta, Eric Sogard, Joc Pederson, Jake Marisnick, Trevor Williams, Brandon Workman, Tony Wolters, Ryan Tepera and Andrew Chafin. I guess they will, which is why the Cubs might surprise.

Let’s not forget that Chicago also had Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Javier Báez and Craig Kimbrel on the 2021 Opening Day team. That firepower will be hard to replace, although no one should count Schwindel, Patrick Wisdom , Jonathan Villar and Rowan Wick. The combined projected production of those four Cubs, along with the total number of those previously mentioned, shows a much improved roster on paper. There are no real stars in this year’s team other than Suzuki and Stroman, but the synergy seems much better.

Cub News and Notes

  • Ryan Jensen, Caleb Kilian and DJ Herz take pride of place this year The Cub Scout Initiate list of top 20 pitch prospectsas selected by Greg Huss.
  • The Ricketts Family continues to strengthen its offer to buy Chelsea Football Club, adding Dan Gilbert’s Rock Entertainment Group to a consortium that already included hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin.
  • MLBTR released their cubs offseason review. As I mentioned above, Chicago has seen some churn.
  • Hendricks is the unique bond of the team to past and future glory days.
  • In his spring training final appearance the other day, Stroman faked five innings against a mix of Cubs prospects and major league hitters. The right-hander struck out eight, walked one and allowed one hit among the 22 batters he faced.
  • Suzuki conquered The Chicago Clubhouse.
  • By fivethirtyeight.comthe Cubs have an 18% chance of making the playoffs and a 7% chance of winning the NL Central.
  • The Chicago Tribune says Chicago is fourth worst baseball teamjust ahead of the Pirates, A’s and Orioles.
  • If you’re looking to score a new Hawaiian shirt, a David Ross bobblehead, or a replica jersey from 1984, be sure to check it out the 2022 giveaway days team list.

Odds & Sods

One of my favorite scenes from the movie Invincible is when the Eagles held their tryouts under first-year head coach Dick Vermeil. Maybe the Cubs were just trying to find that left-handed hitter the team needed when they held their Field of Dreams event yesterday at very foggy Wrigley Field.

Climb the ladder

“Execution of bitterness, message received loud and clear.” – INXS, Do not change

A mass exodus in Round 3 of yesterday’s Cactus League Finals left the Cubs fending off Rangers with players not on the 40-man roster, and it wasn’t pretty. At least Michael Hermosillo had a nice three-shot bomb before heading north.

  • Scott Effross finished Cactus League action with a 0.00 ERA in seven innings of work. Ethan Roberts didn’t allow any earned runs either.
  • Alfonso Rivas batted .385 in 31 at bats with one home run and six walks. I’m giving him camp MVP honors.
  • Davis and fellow outfield prospect Alexander Canario combined for four home runs and 10 RBIs in 18 at-bats in the spring.

Spring Training News and Notes

Cumulative spring stats in the cactus and grapefruit leagues may indicate we are about to see a surge during the regular season.

Brewers wide receiver Pedro Severino and MLB veterans Richard Rodríguez, Danny Santana and José Rondón were all suspended for 80 games after testing positive for banned substances.

The Yankees have already postponed tomorrow’s opening against the Red Sox. The match will be played on Friday.

The Padres would be showing a lot of interest in the powerful third baseman of the Guardians, José Ramírez.

sports news predicts the Dodgers will beat the Blue Jays in this year’s World Series.

Extra sleeves

Hermosillo is going to be fun to watch this season.

They said it

  • “I don’t think anyone really crushes [high heat]. The guys who do best with this terrain don’t swing on it. Mike Trout and Juan Soto… just don’t deliver, so I went with that approach. Sounds enticing, ask any hitter, but rather than go fishing up there, [I’m] only [going to] stop.” – Wisdom
  • “When I was deciding where to sign I spoke to some guys here and they mentioned they had a slider that would be good for my arm. Once I got here I got to work and got it started in games and it feels good. -Norris

Wednesday Walk-Up Song

I was wrong and I fell in love by Elvin Bishop with Mickey Thomas – I have a feeling the 2022 Cubs are going to be easy to root for because of their underdog mentality, low-key swagger and slim expectations.

Floyd N. Morlan