Wesneski’s Famous Slider, PCA Comes to Camp, the Sosa Question, Morel’s Role, and Other Cubs Bullets

With the Cubs Convention in the rearview, it is seemingly you may see some Cubs gamers heading to Arizona to start their pre-Spring Training work (or heading again to Arizona, in lots of instances). I really like that we’re not even a full month away from Spring Training starting, and the hopes for a aggressive season can spike juuuuuust sufficient to go away me feeling mad as hell if the Cubs do not win on Opening Day. I can not assist however deal with each sport like the Super Bowl. Such is fandom.

  • What a pull by Patrick Mooney, getting this quote from Jameson Taillon about Hayden Wesneski: “Within the Yankees, even guys in the huge leagues had been all the time speaking about Wesneski’s slider, so it is no secret that it is type of an outlier pitch and a particular pitch . When you’ve gotten a pitch like that, you’ll be able to play in the huge leagues for a very long time.” Taillon, certainly one of the huge league starters on the Yankees final yr, says that the different huge leaguers had been speaking about Wesneski’s slider. To make certain, as soon as we bought a take a look at it final yr, I can perceive why they had been speaking about it. But dang if that is not music to my ears to hear that even Yankees huge leaguers knew earlier than the commerce to the Cubs that the pitch was particular.
  • Don’t neglect that, even when Wesneski would not break camp in the huge league rotation, he is going to make loads of huge league begins this yr if wholesome. Beginning the season at Triple-A Iowa would permit the Cubs to higher handle his early-season innings, and incorporate him in the rotation when – inevitably – the want arises. (Of course, if he comes to Spring Training trying so ridiculous that the Cubs merely can not help however let him begin week one, nicely, then, you’ll be able to settle for that consequence, too!)
  • I do not assume it is surprising given his breakout 2022 season, however on condition that he hasn’t but performed at Double-A, I nonetheless assume it is noteworthy: outfield prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong can be invited to huge league Spring Training this yr. To make certain, PCA won’t be making the huge league group out of Spring Training, however opening camp with the huge league membership and teaching employees will get him a special type of expertise, making ready him for the days forward when he DOES play on the huge league group It additionally means we’d get to see him in additional huge league Spring Training video games, which is sweet.
  • When it comes to the query of Sammy Sosa’s return into the Cubs’ good graces, Ryne Sandberg did not fairly say it should not occur, however he appeared to echo the message Tom Ricketts has shared once more and once more on the matter. “For me, enjoying the sport the proper means, with respect, was all the time what I used to be taught in the minor leagues,” Sandberg informed ESPN. “That was my Hall of Fame speech. I believe I stated it 28 occasions. And there was a little bit downside with the means that Sammy performed the sport. If that is a roadblock, that is a roadblock.” In different phrases, the sturdy PEDs suspicions are an issue, and Ricketts has beforehand urged that gamers from that period ought to converse overtly and actually earlier than they are often welcomed again. (And my intestine continues to inform me that is not simply one thing Ricketts got here up with on his personal – I anticipate it got here from some of us who’re thought of essential to the Cubs’ group.)
  • I really feel like I speak about Christopher Morel lower than I intend to, given his youth and upside, and his profitable huge league debut in 2022. The restricted dialogue, I believe, is much less a couple of restricted curiosity – I believe he is a long-term huge league contributor – and is extra about the indisputable fact that I do not assume he is going to have a “set” place on the Cubs in 2023. I believe he’ll both be an excellent utility man on the huge league roster, or he ‘ll open the season at Triple-A Iowa (with Patrick Wisdom getting a crack at profitable a full-time job, sometimes ceding begins to Zach McKinstry or Miles Mastrobuoni).

Morel should not be handed a job, however he should not be dismissed as only a bench participant, both, as a result of he is solely 23 and what he might convey each day could be distinctive. For perspective, let’s use Ben Zobrist as the prototype for a super-utility man. Morel made his major-league debut at a youthful age (22 years, 327 days previous) than when Zobrist bought drafted out of Dallas Baptist University. Back in 2004, Zobrist was 23 years previous and enjoying for the Tri-City ValleyCats in the New York-Penn League. Of course, Zobrist was an exceptionally gifted and clever participant, a switch-hitter who grew to become the 2016 World Series MVP. The comparability is inaccurate and not completely honest to both participant. But the level is Zobrist wanted time and alternatives to become the super-utility man who suits completely inside Tampa Bay’s system.

Players with 99th percentile arm power, 88th percentile dash velocity and good exit velocity numbers — resembling Morel — are arduous to discover. The Cubs might have Morel give attention to working at third base in spring coaching, and then transfer him round as wanted throughout the season when accidents occur and for matchup functions. Even simply sustaining the identical offensive degree (.741 OPS, 16 residence runs in 425 plate appearances) could be extraordinarily worthwhile contemplating his pre-arbitration wage and capacity to play middle discipline and again up at shortstop or shift to second base. It can be refreshing to see the vitality Morel persistently brings to the ballpark, the means he indicators autographs, poses for images and flips bats.

  • The upside for Morel, even when he by no means locks down a specific spot, is appreciable. Even if he does begin the yr again at Triple-A – the place he is barely performed, thoughts you – that is hardly a knock on his potential. It can take time, particularly in case you are working at a number of positions.
  • Kris Bryant managed simply 42 video games in his debut season with the Rockies due to a wide range of damage points, together with a nasty case of plantar fasciitis that will have been attributable to an early-season again damage, and the pure compensation that occurs. For now, although, Bryant says he is absolutely wholesome and prepared to go for 2023 (Denver Post). I’m undecided even a fully-healthy, and fully-productive Kris Bryant can be the distinction for the Rockies in 2023, particularly in that division, however you’ll be able to want him so much higher than what he was ready to present the first yr .
  • This made me chuckle, as a result of the implication is that “productive outs” had been barely NEGATIVELY correlated with profitable in 2022:

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