The Rundown: Cubs Top Power Rankings, Mills Goes Two Strong in Debut, Butler Up Next, Rossy’s DWtS Audition

Best of luck, everyone else.

That’s how Jonah Keri capped off his initial edition of The 30, his MLB power rankings column, which had the Cubs at the tippy top. This is kind of a weird time because we’re all just prognosticating right now, regardless of how much we feel we know about a given team.

Call it personal bias, I just tend to put more trust in the rankings that have the Cubs first right now. Some objective models like PECOTA don’t look at them as the favorites, but I’m talking more about the human rankings. Let’s face it, putting the Cubs at number 1 isn’t a story. There’s a little more notoriety to be gained from taking the defending champs down a peg or two, though.

Check out the link above for the rest of Keri’s roster, including some pretty lofty positions for the Cardinals and Rockies.

Mills gets first start

Alec Mills wasn’t exactly the most heralded acquisition of the offseason, but he does have some intriguing potential. Take his elite slider movement, for instance. And that’s based on a full 12 pitches, so you know it’s legit data. Based on on the information available on’s Gameday, that sample is actually two pitches more than Mills threw Tuesday afternoon against the Angels.

Of course, that’s due more to the lack of reporting available for Spring Training games than it is Mills’ uncanny ability to induce first-pitch swings from eight straight batters. Which is an ability you may have surmised he does not actually possess. But while Mills may not have a legitimately freakish breaking pitch or the ability to closely match his pitch count to the number of batters faced, he had a decent debut.

Barring any misfortune regarding other members of the pitching staff, the former Royal is likely to start the season in Iowa in order to stay sharp for future spot starts.

Butler starting Wednesday

It’s far too early to get any super substantive insight from these Spring games, but I’m looking forward to seeing Eddie Butler take the mound Wednesday. Or, more accurately, to reading other people’s accounts of how he looks on the mound. Same thing, right?

I’ve got all kinds of questions about the guy: How’s his command? Does he use the change? Has anyone else noticed his uncanny resemblance to Ed Sheeran?

Seriously, though, I am interested to see whether Butler can put things back together and regain at least a semblance of what made him a fast-rising Rox prospect. Word from the start of camp was that Chris Bosio had his new charge reverting back to his old windup, but getting closer to sea level might help too.

“You go from being on the road and say your curveball breaks 15 inches on the road, and at home, it breaks seven inches,” Butler said of his time in Colorado. “You’re always making adjustments. You go on the road and your stuff is moving all over the place and it’s hard to control, and you go home and expect it to move and it doesn’t. It’s tough to control, but everybody has to pitch in it.”

All things considered, there’s enough anecdotal evidence to suggest this change of scenery thing might work out for Butler.

More news and notes

  • Grandpa Rossy is reportedly appearing on the upcoming season of Dancing With the Stars and CI got our hands on his audition tape:

  • Do you like Joe Maddon? How about Andre Dawson? Or Cubs Spring Training games? If you answered yes and you have $5 to spare, you’re in luck:
    • Cubs Insider has partnered with Joe Maddon’s Hazelton Integration Project for a fundraiser
    • If this goes well, there’ll be an even bigger prize once the regular season starts
    • Check our full post for more details
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