With the first full workout, I figured it was time to get here regularly again. I mean it this time! And before spring training really swings into gear, I’m going to try and promise myself to not get suckered by Spring Training performance. And it might be by the same guy who suckered me last year.
Spring training battles for positions are just about the only thing you watch for when you tune into a game on a lazy Sunday afternoon (or in my case, a lazy Wednesday afternoon). Sometimes you want to see a prospect’s swing for the first time, and Lord knows we’ve done that enough lately. And hey, I’ll take in as many Kris Bryant at-bats as I can. But the rest is just about who makes the bottom of the roster.
At least for nine days before Bryant can be called up, third base might be open. It could go to Alcantra, or Baez with Alcantra at 2nd. Baez could be in Iowa. Joe Maddon might try it all before Bryant gets the call. Bryant might end up in left field. Anything could happen.
I know Tommy La Stella is another candidate, because he is actually left-handed and got on base a lot in the minors. I am remain unconvinced. La Stella got worse every month he was in Atlanta last year, which leads you to believe the league figured out a way to attack him and he never adjusted. Sure, it was only his first foray into The Show and maybe now is when he figures out his counter attack.
But that puts him in the same category as the player who wooed me last year with a bunch of spring training homers, and that’s Mike Olt. I know we’ve all waved the white flag on him, and even if he maxes out he projects as a poor man’s Bryant. He’s also right-handed, and will strike out a lot no matter how well he hits, and the Cubs are probably fully stocked on both of those.
And yet, I haven’t given up on him. His first half with the Cubs was ugly, and he only had 38 ABs in September. But those 38 ABs in the last month looked a whole lot different than the ones in April and May. He walked more, struck out less (though still too much).
I don’t know that Olt will be anything more than someone you toss out against lefties, with either him being in left or Bryant doing so and replacing Coghlan. But having another tool is never a bad thing. And I’m going to tell myself to not be seduced by Arizona homers. And yet I will. He’ll bomb a couple off the scoreboards and I’ll start wondering and dreaming. And then he’ll be walking back to the dugout a lot in April and May.
I know I’ll do it, and I can’t stop it.