Times are changing in Chicago, and for the better. The Cubs are going through the rigors of a rebuilding process that started last year when Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer were brought on board to give the front office a makeover.
In their first year with the team, Epstein and Hoyer made a point to blow as much of the ship up to start over. They did make some smart moves with the big league team—giving Starlin Castro a team-friendly, seven-year extension, for example—but the farm system was the main focus.
That new, young talent has been on display this spring, as the Cubs prepare for another season that likely won't result in a lot of wins on the field but will start to put their future into much clearer focus.
With so many new names making their way into Chicago over the last few months, things in Mesa, Arizona, where the Cubs' spring training complex is located, are going to have a big impact on the 25-man roster when the season starts.
Given the fact that spring training was extended this year to accommodate the World Baseball Classic, manager Dale Sveum and his staff will have plenty of chances to look at who should make the club out of camp, what to do about players hobbled by injuries and so much more.
Here is all the information you need to know about the Cubs so far this spring, including a look at the projected final roster, starting lineup and results from each day's game.
Note: Rosters and players will be updated throughout the spring as decisions come into focus.
Dave Sappelt Bench
*Baker will start the season on the DL recovering from Tommy John surgery.
**Garza will start the season on the DL due to a strained lat muscle.
|PROJECTED BATTING ORDER|
|1. David DeJesus, RF|
|2. Darwin Barney, 2B|
|3. Starlin Castro, SS|
|4. Anthony Rizzo, 1B|
|5. Alfonso Soriano, LF|
|6. Luis Valbuena, 3B|
|7. Brett Jackson, CF|
|8. Dioner Navarro, C|
|PROJECTED PITCHING ROTATION|
|No. 1 Starter: Jeff Samardzija, RHP|
|No. 2 Starter: Edwin Jackson, RHP|
|No. 3 Starter: Scott Feldman, RHP|
|No. 4 Starter: Carlos Villanueva, RHP|
|No. 5 Starter: Travis Wood, LHP|
|Reliever: Rafael Dolis, RHP|
|Reliever: James Russell, LHP|
|Reliever: Michael Bowden, RHP|
|Reliever: Shawn Camp, RHP|
|Reliever: Carlos Marmol, RHP|
|Closer: Kyuji Fujikawa, RHP|
Chicago Cubs defeat Los Angeles Dodgers 8-1
WP: Chris Rusin
LP: Chris Capuano
Cubs Player of the Game: C Wellington Castillo
1-for-2, 3B, 2 RBI, 2 Runs
Castillo keeps raking for the Cubs this week, upping his average this spring to .231 thanks to his two-run triple in the top of the first to give his team a 2-0 lead. He is likely going be the backup catcher when the team breaks camp.
On the mound, Chris Rusin pitched an effective game. He allowed just one hit and one walk in five innings of work with just one strikeout. He isn't going to be more than a back-end starter in the big leagues, at best, but his performance this spring (0.69 ERA) is encouraging.
What's on deck?
The intercity rivalry gets the spring training treatment on Friday, as the Cubs travel to Camelback Ranch to take on the Chicago White Sox. Scott Feldman will be on the mound for the Cubs, going up against Gavin Floyd for the White Sox.
Colorado Rockies defeat Chicago Cubs 2-0
WP: Jorge De La Rosa
LP: Edwin Jackson
S: Will Harris
Cubs Player of the Game: 2B Darwin Barney
It was a dreary day for the Cubs on offense. The pitching was solid enough, with Edwin Jackson throwing five strong innings, giving up three hits, one run, one walk and striking out two.
Barney didn't do anything special today, as he hit just two singles; the team had six hits total. Perhaps the biggest story of the game was Carlos Marmol pitched an inning without giving up a walk.
Chicago didn't have one extra-base hit on the day. Starlin Castro was strong in his first game since the end of February, going 1-for-1 with a walk. Star prospects Jorge Soler and Javier Baez combined to go 0-for-6 with two strikeouts.
What's on deck?
The Cubs will head back out on the road on Thursday, when they make the short trek to Camelback Ranch to take on the Los Angeles Dodgers. Chris Rusin makes the start for the Cubs opposite Chris Capuano.
Chicago Cubs defeat Arizona Diamondbacks 7-5
WP: Hector Rondon
LP: David Holmberg
Cubs Player of the Game: 1B Steve Clevenger
3-for-4, 2B, 1 Run Scored
The Cubs used Clevenger, a catcher by trade, at first base today and he rewarded them with a big day at the plate. He is hitting well this spring, posting a .348 average in 23 at-bats. He is not hitting for a lot power, as his double today was his first extra-base hit.
Considering that Clevenger is going to be used in the backup catcher role, and is only getting time at first base because the Cubs need depth at the position until Anthony Rizzo's run with Italy in the World Baseball Classic, he doesn't need a big spring to make the team.
What's on deck?
The Cubs have an off day on Tuesday before heading back to HoHoKam Park on Wednesday to take on the Colorado Rockies. According to Carrie Muskat of Cubs.com, shortstop Starlin Castro is expected to be in the lineup for the first time since tweaking his hamstring on February 27.
Cleveland Indians 9, Chicago Cubs 2
WP: Zach McAllister
LP: Brooks Raley
Cubs Player of the Game: SS Javier Baez
It has become clear throughout spring training, if you didn't know beforehand, that Baez is really special with a bat in his hands. Spring stats are useless when trying to decipher what a player is going to do, but you still want to see them play well.
Baez has shown, on multiple occasions, this spring that he can do things with a bat that very few prospects are capable of matching. He has ridiculous bat speed, exploding through the zone in the blink of an eye and generating big power.
Against Cleveland, Baez showed off his hitting prowess. He went 2-for-3 with a two-run home run off David Huff in the first inning. He is hitting .360 so far this spring. At just 20 years old, he has at least one more full season in the minors before he is in Wrigley Field everyday.
But Cubs fans should be excited about what Baez has shown this spring. His biggest adjustment this year will be learning to take a few pitches and work the count so he doesn't turn into just another hacker.
What's on deck?
The Cubs will start Scott Feldman on Sunday against the San Diego Padres. He is already guaranteed a rotation spot when the season starts but has allowed eight hits in four innings this spring.