Arizona Trip Day 1
Made my way down to the Scottsdale area for a couple days to get a sneak preview of what’s coming to Clark and Addison in a few week’s time. It’s what’s coming a couple weeks after that that stole the show of course. Anyway, some observations about today’s game in Tempe (sorry, none of them will concern ASU girls).
-The main story of course is two Kris Bryant bombs, which pretty much made the whole trip worth it already. There is just a different sound off his bat. It’s a thud. You didn’t need to see the ball come off it for the first homer to know where it was going. You only had to hear it. Few guys create a stir in the crowd simply by the sound of contact. Bryant is one.
What I noticed most is just how balanced Bryant is at the plate. While Baez feels like he’s hurling everything he has at the plate when he makes solid contact in pure rock fury, Bryant is just fluid and stable. It looks like he’s barely trying and yet everything is behind the ball. He’ll have his struggles, but overall Bryant is going to hit. And hit a lot.
-I won’t make any opinions on one game, but I do wonder about him at 3rd long term. He lumbers a little, and isn’t as quick to the ball as you’d like. Maybe that’s just today, I don’t know. Bryant-Castro-Baez in the infield by May could be an adventure, unless Castro continues his upward swing in defense. But he’s never going to be a premier defensive shortstop. While Lester and Arrieta will probably strike out enough guys to make up for that, Wood, Hendricks, and Hammel almost certainly won’t. Wood and Hammel are fly-ball pitchers, so the outfield defense is probably more important when they pitch, but it’s worth watching.
-People have said the Cubs are really trying to work their ABs, and that was the case today, It seemed like everyone saw five or six pitches. There are going to be some long games this summer. But that’s fine.
-I try not to judge pitchers in the spring because for all I know they’re working on a change-up or something and aren’t really approaching it how they’d approach a regular start, at least not this early. Hammel should have gotten out of the 1st cleanly but didn’t thanks to a Bryant error. Seemed to be nibbling a bit, but again, maybe there was just something he was working on.
-However, I will declare I don’t want Felix Doubront anywhere near this team, just like I didn’t want him anywhere near it when they acquired him. At this point, Travis Wood would have to have a major brain injury (or be traded) to not have the #5 starter spot. And that’s fine.
-Addison Russel looks the part. I don’t know if he will be, but he certainly carries himself that way.
-Mike Olt looks thinner, and was at the forefront of working ABs. Hope he gives Maddon another option.