Cubs Game Preview and Thread: ESPN, Heyman say future looks bright

Cubs Game Preview and Thread: ESPN, Heyman say future looks bright

Today's game will give a glimpse of the future, which looks pretty bright right now.  Keith Law, Buster Olney, and Jim Bowden of ESPN ranked the Cubs 6th today in their future power ratings.  They get high marks for their minor league system, management, finance, and mobility.  Only the state of their present team brought them down.  There isn't a whole lot to build on, of course.

They're in good company.  The teams rated ahead of them are the Cardinals, Rangers, Rays, Nationals, and Yankees.  Other rebuilding teams, such as the Astros and Mets are much further behind in the process.  In fact, the Cubs are the only true rebuilding team in the top 15. The Red Sox and Diamondbacks are also in the top 15 but they just had one bad season, tough to put them in the same category as the Cubs.

Jon Heyman also raves about Cubs future here.

On with the preview...

Cubs vs. A's today and as usual, the game is scheduled for 2:05 CST.  You can hear it on

The Cubs are facing a lefty today in Brett Anderson, so here is the Cubs lineup:

CF Dave Sappelt
2B Darwin Barney
DH Scott Hairston
LF Darnell McDonald
RF Jorge Soler
C Dioner Navarro
SS Javier Baez
1B Brent Lillibridge
3B Junior Lake

Starting Pitcher: Scott Feldman

Scott Feldman has already secured a spot in the rotation to start the season so he's just getting his work in to build up for the season.  We can expect a guy who throws strikes and has become better at missing bats.

5 Things to Watch...

  • Javier Baez, because you'll never know when he'll do something that will leave you with your mouth agape.
  • Jorge Soler (see #1)
  • The Cubs have 3 of their most physically gifted players in the lineup today with the 3rd guy being Junior Lake, who I will profile later today.
  • Brent Lillibridge at 1B?  Keep the throws down today, Junior and Javy.  Lillibridge has also worked out at 3B, where I expect he'll get a good amount of playing time if he makes the team.
  • Really like seeing Dave Sappelt getting all this time in CF.  It seems to indicate a platoon is in the cards in both CF and RF this year.

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  • RF Jorge Soler
    SS Javier Baez
    3B Junior Lake

    Oh yeah.

  • In reply to eaton53:

    This could be an exciting game. All 3 are capable of doing the spectacular.

  • With Baez & Soler, the hype has been so great that we are almost disappointed when they don't leave our mouths agape.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    True but both were doing it before the hype. Baez and Soler hit some jaw droppers last year and I was lucky enough to see a few of them in person. Baez also made some great defensive plays at SS last year that got you up off your feet.

  • I'm dying to see Soler, Baez, Lake and other prospects on TV. Just found that first broadcast of a game will be MLB Network showing Sunday's game at on Monday March 4 at 9:30 a.m.. But says subject to local blackout. Anyone know of that game will be blacked-out in Chicago market?

    Here's the link to the MLB Spring Training TV schedule:

    And here's the link to the Cubs Spring TV schedule:

  • HOLY COW!!!

    We are #6 in the MLB Future Power Rankings.
    Categories: Majors 6; Minors 26; Finance 24; Management 25; Mobility 24

    Overall score: 65
    In Theo We Trust. This club is undergoing a teardown unseen this side of Houston, but they've rid themselves of pretty much every significant payroll obligation beyond 2014. It's been an encouraging rebuilding effort, though Matt Garza 's injury woes will prevent them from extracting full value for him in a trade. -- Buster Olney

  • In reply to waitingOn2015:

    Saw that and actually added it to this article probably at the same exact time you were commenting! Heyman also jumping on the bandwagon.

  • Who is pitching for the A's today?

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Brett Anderson

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Sorry missed that.

  • Not sure what I think about the Yankees being ranked higher than the Cubs. I realize they can most any year buy a playoff contender and they have the history of winning World Series, but that team is looking pretty old as of late and they have a lot of contracts that could look pretty bad for years to come.

  • In reply to Ibleedcubbieblue:

    Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. I hate to be greedy but I'd rather have Cubs future than Yankees right now.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    What's your take, John: do the Yankees find a way to sign Cano, or is the goal of getting under the tax threshold combined with the salaries of ARod, Teixeira, and Sabathia just too much?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I think they almost have to sign him. It'll create too big a hole in their lineup. That said, he's going to get expensive and if they can't shed salary elsewhere, he may just bolt.

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    In reply to Ibleedcubbieblue:

    The Yankees have a ton of talent at about the same level as the Cubs right now. Even the article points out that things may get ugly but not for long.

    ARod and Texiera's contracts are surely albatrosses but the Yanks are arguably the only team strong enough to carry the weight.

    I hate to say it, but the dudes in the pinstripes will probably always have a strong future.

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    I haven't always been the biggest Heyman fan, but he wrote an analytical piece rather than the "same old Cubs" pieces of Bowden, Levine, Sullivan, etc. He actually made note of the improved defensive performance of Soriano... something that has been glaringly omitted by most national media pundits.

    surprisingly reassuring...

  • Soler just gunned down Josh Reddick trying to go from 1st to 3rd on a single. Cannon.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Wish they were televising it!!

  • In reply to Caps:

    Me too. Would love to have seen it.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Yes, the cannon is impressive and that's the biggest difference between a RF'r and a LF'r that someone was asking about the other day.

    Also of impressive note, the throw was from Soler, through Baez, to Lake for the out.....

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Nice. Future on display!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Soler Power, 2.0

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    Don't run on Jorge...make the t-shirts now

  • In reply to Louie101:


  • Soler singles. Got to like the way these guys are holding their own in their first big league camp.

  • Wish I could see the video of Baez's single through Dee Gordon's legs... Anyone have a link?

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I don't but if I find it I'll post it. With him it's not just HRs, I've seen hit some of the loudest singles, foul balls, etc.

  • Junior Lake singles home Javier Baez. Has a nice ring to it.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    It does doesn't it...

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    I don't post much, but love the blog, John (I tend to hang around and just let all the wisdom seep in)! I really appreciate the updates, guys...can't get "Gameday" on to pull up here at work. I know it's just ST, but sometimes you need a fix!!!

  • In reply to Bill Tucker:

    Thanks Bill! We all need that fix!

  • With Yankees Hughes hurting, will the Garza trade talk heat up between Cashman and Epstein?

    McDonald has 5 RBI's already.....I'm lovin it!

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    In reply to CubsTalk:

    The yanks might be able to complete a Sori trade, but they don't have the prospects it would take to complete a Garza deal.

    Their top prospects are OFs and a catcher that'll likely end up as a DH. Nothing to interest Epstein and Co.

  • Junior Lake doubles. He's 2-3. I don't think he's taken a pitch, though, in the last 2 ABs.

  • Rondon looking good apparently, 3 easy outs and according to Gillespie, lots of live in that fastball... Throwing strikes... Good sign.

  • Hector Rondon with a quick, efficient 1-2-3. Kid throwing strikes so far. Looks like a keeper.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    And it seems like he's way more advanced than Lendy Castillo... So yeah, if we kept Castillo, let's keep Rondon too... I like Rondon's potential of being a late inning reliever that doesn't hurt himself with the walks.

  • In reply to Caps:

    I think he is more advanced than Castillo. Wish I could see him but he's getting swings and misses and he's not throwing a lot of pitches.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Caps:

    I agree but if i'm the Cubs you really have nothing to lose by trying him as a starter next year and see if he responds. If not, right back to a late-inning reliever which is fine.

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    Whoever wins this, I don't think Sveum is going to be happy. So far, 11 strikeouts and one walk. Worse, 5 of the strikeouts (Hairston 3 and Navarro 2) are from guys who figure to be on the opening day roster, and the walk is from a guy who doesn't (BJax).

    This is definitely not one of the better games for the "new way" of doing things.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Keep in mind, that some guys are playing against much higher level of play than what they're used to... Baez and Soler have never played above A ball... Some other guys are probably getting their timing down... Scott Hairston is striking out an awful lot, but he doesn't have a K problem for a low BA power hitter... Navarro isn't known for striking out either... So, I think some guys are out of sync right now.

    I'd be more worried about their individual performance about 1-2 weeks before the end of ST.

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    In reply to Caps:

    I'm not super worried. And your points are well taken.

    But, still, never like to see that many K's and that few walks.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I certainly understand your concerns as well... I hope this is not a trend into the season for sure.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Pitchers throwing strikes, so at least there's that. Since that lousy first game against LAD, Cubs pitchers haven't walked many hitters -- especially the bullpen.

  • Cubs going to blow this game.....get Lewis out of there.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Jensen Lewis is pulling a Marmol here... Giving us a little BP issues before closing out the game lol.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Thinking he doesn't survive 1st cut.

  • Cubs win 5-3!!

    Good games from all three young stars
    Soler 1-3 and threw a guy out at home
    Baez 1-3 and run scored
    Lake 2-3 with double and RBI
    Nice quick outing by Hector Rondon too.

  • John, let's add:

    Christian Villanueva's run-scoring sac fly.--good situitional hitting

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