Kind of a slow news day but we have a big mock draft piece coming later for all my fellow draftniks. It's a big draft this year for the rebuild and we're going to try and bring you the most original and comprehensive Cubs-centric draft info possible.
Meanwhile, the Cubs take on the Dodgers and lefty Chris Capuano today at 3:05 CT.
In the news...
- RHP Barrett Loux, whom we profiled today in our AAA Iowa pitchers piece, has been assigned to minor league camp. Much like Nick Struck, his ultimate destination seems undetermined and may depend partially on what happens with Chris Rusin, who starts today. Rusin has a shot at the Cubs last bullpen spot, but if he is sent down to Iowa he'll likely start there and push either Struck or Loux to AA Tennessee.
- Eager for Kane County games yet? Here's Part 1 of the Meet the Cubs segment with Cubs Sr. VP of Scouting, Jason McLeod.
- Fangraphs has power rankings for 1B and the Cubs rank 5th, despite not having a safety net behind Anthony Rizzo.
- Hitting coach James Rowson is pleased with the Cubs progress as far as putting up quality ABs and had especially good things to say about Jorge Soler.
"It's fun to watch him, to be honest," Rowson said. "It's a matter of learning him right now. We're letting him go out and show what he does naturally, his natural ability, and then we'll talk later. His natural ability speaks for itself so far. The power is ridiculous, the ability to lay off some tough breaking balls for a young kid is phenomenal, so obviously, he'll continue in his development, but he's on the right track. The great part is that he's not intimidated at all. He goes up there and he's very confident, no matter who he's facing. There's no, 'Oh, this pitcher is in the big leagues.' He's concerned about himself and performing, and he's done a good job so far."
- Barney 2B
- Lillibridge 3B
- Schierholtz RF
- Castillo C
- Sappelt CF
- Valbuena SS
- McDonald LF
- Nelson 1B
- Rusin P
5 Things to Watch...
- Chris Rusin looks to continue his good spring and solidify a spot on the opening day roster as the second lefty out of the bullpen.
- Ian Stewart gets his first game action since 2/21. With injuries to Junior Lake and Josh Vitters, the Cubs are suddenly thin at 3B at the upper levels, which probably ensures a starting role for Stewart to open the season as long as he stays healthy. The Cubs seem to be preparing Luis Valbuena for utility work and he gets a look at SS today and if he can handle it defensively, it'll be a nice asset to have a lefty backup Castro.
- On a related note, Starlin Castro is out today but he's fine. The Cubs just aren't looking to rush him back right now. There's plenty of time before the season starts.
- As we get later in the spring we can see the competition for roster spots more clearly. Dave Sappelt is playing CF against a lefty today so he's probably the leading candidate, but Darnell McDonald still looms and is in LF. Nate Schierholtz is getting some ABs against a lefty today and he's done well this spring. If he continues it during the season, then that will change the outfield plans.
- Brent Lillibridge gets the start today at 3B and it's something we may see more of during the season. Other than RF, which is already spoken for by Scott Hairston, the Cubs have two positions where they'd like a RH bat -- 3B and CF, but if Sappelt can handle CF and spell David DeJesus against some lefties, than that frees up Lillibridge to do the same for Ian Stewart at 3B.