And after a long, cold offseason (well, it's still cold, at least for one more day), Cubs baseball starts again. I've only got one word for that... FINALLY!!
Here's the latest from around the web:
From Comcast SportsNet Chicago:
- Patrick Mooney writes that Starlin Castro's game should elevate with the chance to play for his first winning team.
- Welington Castillo is still a Cub. Regardless of what his future may be, Joe Maddon is willing to let the situation play itself out.
- To give Cub fans an idea of what to expect from the stacked prospect class, Baseball America examined five teams since 1990 that had at least three prospects in their Top 20 list. The Cubs currently have four.
- Joe Maddon, Zac Rosscup, and Blake Parker offer their opinions on the use (or lack thereof) of radar guns at the beginning of Spring Training.
- Maddon likes what he's seen so far from Dexter Fowler.
- Albert Almora is in camp with a clear mind this season after dealing with concerns regarding his father's health in 2014.
- Kyle Hendricks knows that he's currently the number four starter in the rotation. Now he's getting to work to make sure that he keeps that slot.
- Who's going to be the catcher for Jon Lester on Opening Day? Maddon hasn't made that decision yet.
From ESPN Chicago:
- Jesse Rogers looks at some of the roles that will be determined by performances in Spring Training.
- Rogers also sat down for a question-and-answer session with Kris Bryant. There wasn't a question about his dreamy eyes.
- Opening up the Twitter Mailbag this week: Anthony Rizzo.
- Albert Almora knows that there's one thing he needs to work on in Spring Training: drawing a walk.
- [AUDIO] Addison Russell spoke with Jesse Rogers on several topics including his trade to the Cubs and where he might play this season.
From CBS Chicago:
- Hector Rondon may be the closer, but he knows that he needs to keep improving and working on his game.
- Where does a game start for Kyle Hendricks? In the video room.
- Dave Wischnowsky isn't very happy with Crane Kenney's admission that he was hoping for a warm winter for the bleacher renovations.
- In an interview this past weekend with Barry Rozner, Scott Boras rejected the notion that he advises his clients to not sign long-term extensions with their original teams.
From the Chicago Tribune via RedEye Chicago:
- Joe Maddon is on board with the upcoming changes to help accelerate the pace of baseball games.
- A big part of Spring Training so far for the Cubs' prospects has been soaking in as much wisdom as they can from the veterans.
- In a statement that will come as a shock to likely no one, Crane Kenney said on Wednesday that he was disappointed in the inability to get extended working hours for the bleacher renovations. Coming up next: Winter is cold.
- Some of the players are also a bit disappointed in the bleacher delays, but they know that the game goes on anyway.
From the Chicago Sun-Times:
- Rick Telander writes that with Joe Maddon at the helm this year, it's going to be about authenticity.
- Gordon Wittenmyer previews some things that Maddon will be looking for in the Spring Training games.
From the Daily Herald:
- Dexter Fowler is glad to be back, both in the National League and likely in the leadoff spot on a regular basis.
- Chris Coghlan remembers the days when he was the hot prospect. Now he's just looking forward to proving that he should be the everyday left-fielder.
From Bleacher Nation:
- The Cubs may be waiting for the Welington Castillo situation to play out, but Brett Taylor says that finding a role for Castillo in a three-catcher roster won't be easy.
- Here are some of the changes that Javier Baez has been working on with his swing in video form.
- The Cubs are currently projected at a 41.4 percent chance to make the playoffs in 2015 according to the first release this season of the FanGraphs Playoff Odds report.
- Jonah Keri has his rankings of all 30 teams heading into Spring Training, and the Cubs are currently ninth on that list and fifth overall in the National League.
- Also according to FanGraphs, the Cubs have been the worst team in the league over the past 10 years in projected win differential (actual wins vs. Pythagorean expectation).
From Chicago Cubs Online:
- The CCO presents their rankings of the Top 21 Cubs prospects for 2015.
- Tom Usiak also presents his list of the prospects with the best tools in the organization.
From Cubs Insider:
- Where there is optimism for the upcoming season, there will also be -- as there always is -- Cub fans who say dumb stuff. Drew Brown gives us a list of 10 stupid things likely to be heard this season.
- Just how far does the Red Sox reach go in Major League Baseball? Turns out it's pretty far. The Cubs lead the list of teams with Red Sox connections, and there are only three teams in all of baseball that have no Red Sox connections at all.
- Tom Verducci takes a more in-depth look at the changes that Javier Baez is working on with his swing this spring.
- Michael Baumann looks at the human cost of the Cubs' likely decision to start Kris Bryant at Triple-A Iowa this season.
Today's food for thought:
- The World Economic Forum released their list of the Top 10 Emerging Technologies of 2015.
- Cats like music. They just don't like our music.
- And deer are apparently not the herbivores that we thought they were.