The Rundown: Projecting Cubs’ Final Roster, Ryno Halfway Through Cancer Treatments, Busch Leaning on Athleticism

Projecting lineups and rosters is always part folly, but I’ll take a stab at it today.

Cubs News & Notes

Odds & Sods

Connie Mack left no stone unturned in his search for championship-caliber players.

Climbing the Ladder

Imanaga is going to be better than a lot of analysts think. Asking him to average 18 K/9 like he has this spring is a tall request, but he did lead the NPB in strikeouts last year. Yoshinobu Yamamoto was the big fish this winter though I’d rather have Imanaga once you add the difference in salaries.

Steele is coming off a year where he was considered a strong Cy Young candidate until very late in the season. His Opening Day assignment is a passing-the-torch moment from Hendricks, who will toe the slab in Chicago’s second game against the Rangers. Steele was 13-6 with a 3.06 ERA and 176 strikeouts last year and is almost a bona fide ace.

Cade Horton is waiting in the wings and he’s going to be a good one. A part of me thinks he’ll be a rotation mainstay by mid-May, but the Cubs won’t need him until September or even 2025 if things go well.

Central Intelligence

Extra Innings

It’s nice knowing I am not the only Daniel Palencia fan. This kid is going to thrive under Counsell. I like Alzolay but I believe Palencia is a future closer.

They Said It

  • “With how right-handed we’ve been in the past, it’s amazing for us even be thinking or talking about having four lefties in the rotation. It’s just so unique, but one thing (Craig) Counsell’s talked about is we want to take the guys who are going to give us the best chance to win and we’ll figure out the ways that we can piece that together and move guys around accordingly. And when I say what gives you the best chance to win is because you could have these preconceived notions that oh, four lefties are too many. Well, who knows? Honestly. Some of the best teams in this league have a lot of left-handed hitters.”Tommy Hottovy
  • “We’ve got depth on the mound. We have depth at pretty much every other position as well. I’m just excited to see how it continues to gel. Last year, we really thought we were going to be good. And we ended up being pretty good. Just not good enough. Now having many of the same personalities, it feels a little more seamless.” – Swanson
  • “[Asaad is] skilled. He’s a true pitcher and when I say that, skilled at reading swings and adjusting pitch-to-pitch and making kind of good choices within that space, which is just hard to do and generally is a sign of experience and at a young age I think he does that really well.” – Counsell

Tuesday Walk-Up Song

As much as I hate to admit it, this is a pretty catchy song, and though I’m not sure why it appears on so many sports playlists, it’ll earworm you. I am concerned that Katy Perry rarely blinks, however. Didn’t Anthony Rizzo use this as his walk-up song at one time?

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