Chicago Cubs: Highlights of Cactus League Week One

By Matt Heckler
Chicago Cubs
Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

With the Chicago Cubs having just wrapped up their first week’s worth of preseason games, it is time to assess what the team has done so far, to see who is looking strong and who is going to need a lot of work.

Although the team is only seven games into Spring Training, the Chicago Cubs have been suffering through what manager Dale Sveum referred to as an “injury pandemic.” Dontrelle Willis left with shoulder discomfort, Starlin Castro went down with hamstring tightness, pitcher Matt Garza is dealing win injuries again, and third basemen Ian Stewart and Josh Vitters are both missing time because of quad injuries. Despite the injuries piling up, the team did manage to take four wins out of these first seven games.

On the offensive side of things, among the big standouts are outfielders Brett Jackson and Nate Schierholtz. Both have driven in 3 runs each in only 12 at-bats between the pair, and Schierholtz has scored 4 times after reaching base 4 times. The 2012 Gold Glove winner Darwin Barney has also been impressive on the offensive side, going 4-for-9 so far with 3 RBI of his own.

Although there haven’t been enough games played to judge the Chicago Cubs pitching, there have been a few good signs. Newcomer Kyuji Fujikawa has made two appearances without allowing a run, and pitching prospect Zach Putnam hasn’t allowed a run in 3 IP, and has only allowed a single base runner. Jeff Samardzija is the only pitcher to have started two games so far, and he improved significantly in his second outing. After allowing one run in two innings his first time out, Samardzija allowed one run in three innings in his start on March 1st. He has been allowing more base runners than we’d like to see, as his WHIP is a slightly lofty 1.40.

It will take a few more weeks of Cactus League play before we can really see what kind of team the Chicago Cubs have going in to the regular season. With any luck, the injuries will prove to be as minor as initially thought, and players like Kyuji Fujikawa, Zach Putnam, Brett Jackson, and Darwin Barney will continue their successes.

Matt Heckler is a baseball writer for Follow him on Twitter @androiddreamer and add him to your network on Google.

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