If the day pitchers and catchers report to spring training is like Christmas for a baseball fan, then today was our new year.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s always a great day when pitchers and catchers make their first appearances of the spring, but it doesn’t mean a whole lot, and it’s not very exciting. That is, unless you’re a big fan of long toss.
Today, though… today is the day that things finally get underway. According to reports, everyone was present and accounted for at Cubs camp in time for the first full-squad workout.
And even though, in all reality, today doesn’t mean a whole lot either, it’s still nice to see the full team together participating in some real baseball activity; like swinging the bat.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at what few pieces of news we’ve gotten so far.
Soler Packs a Powerful Swing
If you’re a sports media nut like myself, you’ve probably seen more than a few mentions already about how good Jorge Soler’s swing is looking. And, thanks to our friends over at Bleacher Nation, we have a chance to actually get a visual on it.
Here, you can find a nice little video of Soler lacing an arsenal of frozen ropes across the field. Sure, chances are we won’t see him in the majors this year, but it’s a positive sign nevertheless.
Brett Jackson Makes Adjsutments
Speaking of swings, Brett Jackson has a new one. Last year, as most of us are painfully aware, Jackson made his major league debut and struggled mightily in the process, to the tune of a .175 BA/.303 OBP/.342 SLG stat line with 59 strikeouts in only 142 plate appearances.
During the convention, it seemed like a lot of fans had already given up on the former first-round pick. Then again, Chicago fans are notoriously impatient with minor leaguers, so I guess that shouldn’t be surprising. What matters is that the organization isn’t done with him yet, nor should they be.
Dale Svuem, addressing the convention crowd, said that the reason Jackson was brought up wasn’t because he was ready, necessarily. It was so that the Cubs big-league staff could get a look at him and figure out what was going on with “all those strikeouts.”
What was going on, it seems, was a flawed swing. Well, now that seems to be fixed, or at least changed, as multiple sources have reported that Jackson is showing off a new swing at camp this year. Once again, we must give credit to our friends over at Bleacher Nation for giving us a chance to see what appears to be a more balanced, full swing.
We Already Have Four Starters Named
A couple of weeks ago I wrote an article about the starting rotation in which I said that I assumed Matt Garza, Jeff Samardzija and Edwin Jackson would all be shoe-ins for the rotation with Scott Feldman and probably Scott Baker as the top contenders for the final two spots.
Now, it appears that I get to pat myself on the back for the first time this season as Svuem has already named Feldman to the rotation, along with the three I called shoe-ins in that article. The question now (obviously) becomes, who takes the fifth spot.
The answer to that is likely to have a lot to do with how Baker’s recovery from the injury he suffered last season progresses. Currently, it looks like he might start out the year on the disabled list, but f he’s ready to go by opening day, I feel that there’s a good chance he gets the spot. That is, of course, unless someone else comes out and has a lights-out preseason.
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