Cubs pitcher and catcher workouts continued Friday at the team’s Sloan Park complex in Mesa, Arizona.
In the video below, you can see workouts by Zach Davies, Andrew Chafin, Craig Kimbrel, Jake Arrieta, Adbert Alzolay and Brad Wieck, along with catchers Willson Contreras and Austin Romine.
Regarding Kimbrel... well, I think it’s safe to say that most of us don’t have many fond memories of Kimbrel’s first two seasons with the Cubs, although he did pitch pretty well at the end of the season. In his last 14 appearances: 12⅔ innings, four hits allowed, seven walks, 26 strikeouts, 1.42 ERA, 0.868 WHIP, .098 opponents BA. Small sample size, but at least it gives some hope that Kimbrel could recover to his pre-2019 level of excellence.
Here’s what Kimbrel had to say about the past:
Craig Kimbrel talked a lot about how he doesn't think anything should be handed to him bc of past success. He hopes he showed last year that "anyone can go through hiccups" but can get though it with "hard work, paying attention and the relationships around you."— Maddie Lee (@maddie_m_lee) February 19, 2021
Kimbrel: "A lot of what I got out of last year was understanding that I can make a difference even if I'm not the best I can be on the field. I can still make a difference for the guys around me working though certain things"— Maddie Lee (@maddie_m_lee) February 19, 2021
This chart shows one of the reasons he had that September success:
Craig Kimbrel said his goal this offseason was just maintain what he found down the stretch last year, especially mechanically:— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) February 19, 2021
"If I can physically get to where I need to be, everything else will come together. I feel like I'm ready to go. I felt like it was a good offseason." pic.twitter.com/IPefUb3kCx
If Kimbrel and Brandon Workman can get back to what they were doing when they were Red Sox teammates in 2018, this could be a very successful season for the Chicago Cubs. And as you see on the video, he’s brought back the beard, but not to the length it was in 2019:
Given Kimbrel’s performance in 2019, that’s probably a good thing.
The weather has been spectacularly good in the Valley of the Sun, although as you can see from some parts of the video, a bit cool in the mornings. Temperatures could hit 80 by early next week. (Yes, at some point it’ll warm up in the Midwest, too.)
I will bring you more video from camp as it becomes available.