Trevor Williams Jersey

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The re-tooled Chicago Cubs rotation has gotten off to a nice start this Spring Training, posting a 3.50 ERA through 15 games. One of the biggest questions surrounding this team this year is this rotation and how the loss of Yu Darvish will impact the group. The additions of Jake Arrieta, Trevor Williams and Zach Davies have a lot of upside and Williams, in particular, presents potential a lot of people aren’t talking about.

Williams has spent five seasons in the big leagues, all with the intra-division rival Pittsburgh Pirates. Through those Nike Chicago Cubs Jerseys five seasons, he worked to a 4.43 ERA and 7.0 SO/9. His best season came in 2018 in which he posted a 3.11 ERA with a 14-10 record. The right-hander has the tools to be a solid middle of the rotation option.

The one concern with the 28-year-old right hander is his home run rate. In 2020, he gave up 15 home runs which was the most in all of the majors, coming on the heels of 27 long balls in 2019. If Williams can limit the amount of long balls he gives up he will become a much more trustworthy option.

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Williams has posted a career WAR of 4.7 which comes out to an average of a little under 1.0. The Cubs signed him to a one-year, $2.5 million deal and I believe there’s a lot of value with that. Chicago has become kings of the one-year-deal and this should invoke a lot of motivation, especially for a guy like Williams, who’s coming off the worst year of his career in which he posted a 6.18 ERA in the shortened season.

Cubs: Can a feel-good story be more?
Not only is this a value signing, it’s great for morale. Williams dad grew up a die hard Cubs fan and even worked as an usher at Wrigley Field for a few years. Having this tie-in with the team writes a great narrative for this group and could be just what Williams needs to get back on track and in the right mindset.

The Cubs need everyone to step up this year and the rotation has the opportunity to turn some heads and show that the Darvish loss will not define them. Williams is an X-factor for this group and if he can tap into his 2018 form, the Cubs are going to become an intriguing team to watch. As we say every year, the pieces are there but the low-risk, high-upside options need to pay off.

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Williams has shown he has what it takes to be an effective starting pitcher in this league and his importance to this team should not be overlooked as he takes the mound in 2021.

Trevor Megill Jersey

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I am very happy to see that Ohio is already moving to a new vaccination phase on Thursday (anyone over 50 years old – that’s a big jump), and while I won’t qualify in that tier, it is nice to see things moving along.

• Among the Cubs who have yet to appear this Spring, outfielder Jake Marisnick, slowed by a calf injury, is expected to be the team’s primary fourth outfielder. So you’d like to see him getting some at bats before too long. David Ross says the plan is for Marisnick to debut this weekend, or by Monday at the latest (NBC). For a position player, a couple weeks of spring at bats should be enough.

• Kyle Ryan is also yet to debut after being a late arriver due to the COVID protocols. He should be throwing live BP soon (NBC), but as a guy on a split contract, he might be due to open the season in the minor leagues (well, the alt site) initially anyway. Rex Brothers has looked awfully good so far, and it’s certainly possible the Cubs will want him to be the second lefty in the bullpen to open the season anyway. I’m still not sure Stitched Chicago Cubs Jerseys what’s up with Brad Wieck, who missed most of last season with a hamstring injury, and also has yet to appear in a game. He has a minor league option left, so, like Ryan, he might not be making the team to open the season anyway.

• Cubs starting pitchers so far this spring, via “Cubs starters have combined to allow just one run on eight hits in 16 innings through eight Cactus League games this spring. The group has combined for 13 strikeouts against five walks.” Trevor Williams, who was solid his first time out, makes spring start number two today.

• Trevor Megill was getting a lot of attention last Spring Training as a very good relief prospect who got squeezed out of San Diego’s roster crunch, whom the Cubs snagged in the Rule 5 Draft, and whom the Cubs were working with on a new knuckle curveball. But then COVID hit. Upon the resumption of spring/summer training, the Cubs decided to waive Megill, and he went unclaimed as a Rule 5 guy (with Rule 5 restrictions, that makes sense). Then the Cubs had to work a trade with the Padres to keep Megill, which they did. So anyway, that is all to say, it’s been a really weird couple of years for a guy who was definitely considered a quality relief prospect in 2019, so we shouldn’t ignore him this year, just because he’s a 27-year-old relief prospect who hasn’t made it to the big leagues yet. Once he reaches the big leagues (if he reaches the big leagues), and is then added to the 40-man roster, he’ll have three options years, too.

• I bring all that up because he appeared in yesterday’s game, and was throwing 97-99 mph, according to Arizona Phil (who had him at just 95-97 mph at this time last year(!)). The broadcast has been lacking velos so far, but that does kind match the eye test. Megill was clearly emphasizing the fastball yesterday, trying to locate down at the knees with his exaggerated, over-the-top delivery (which makes him look REALLY weird at a whopping 6’8″). I presume that is the idea with his fastball: since it’s going to be coming from such a high place anyway (he’s tall!), and since he’s got that over-the-top delivery (the release point is even higher!), the Cubs maybe want him to locate down, because then the plane change is so extreme for a batter who probably almost never sees pitches like that. And if it’s coming in at 99mph and he’s got a hammer knuckle curve, too? The Cubs have clearly had success in making relievers into guys who do weird, extreme things. I think that’s the idea with Megill.

• I don’t care how you pull it off or whether it’s the regular season or Spring Training: I love when a team steals home. Obviously a STRAIGHT steal of home (incredibly rare at this point) is the holy grail of fun baserunning moments, but when El Mago does it on an extra throw, it’s still pretty darn fun. Yesterday’s wasn’t QUITE El Mago level but it was still fun, with Alfonso Rivas going on the double steal:

Shelby Miller Jersey

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Shelby Miller has had an up-and-down career, but it’s been mostly down in recent years. When the Cubs signed him to a minor league deal this offseason, nobody thought much of it, but he is turning heads in camp. Can it lead to a roster spot?

It’s always important to remember that spring training results should be taken with a grain of salt, but so far this spring he has pitched in Wholesale Chicago Cubs Jerseys four games, made one start and has a 1.29 ERA with eight strikeouts in seven innings. He credits his success to a slider that has become his main out pitch this spring.

We recently noted Miller is a possible candidate to round out the rotation for the Cubs in the 2021 season. That’s likely a long shot, but bullpen roles and spots are constantly changing, and if he keeps pitching like this, it’ll be hard to deny Miller an opportunity.

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Kyle Hendricks, Zach Davies, Trevor Williams and Jake Arrieta will take up four spots, and guys like Miller, Adbert Alzolay and Alec Mills will be fighting for the last two spots. The Cubs are still waiting on the status of Alzolay’s option, and that could dictate some of the pitching decisions for this years team.

Miller has battled injuries and a lack of success for the past four years. In 2017 and 2018, he started four games each and missed most of the year with injury. In 2019, he made eight starts and 19 appearances with Rangers, posting an 8.59 ERA. He last saw success in 2015 with the Braves, pitching to a 3.02 ERA before the wheels came off with the Diamondbacks the next season, and he’s never recovered.

Cubs: Time is on Miller’s side
Miller is still only 30, so he has time to revive his career. Maybe his days as a starting pitcher are done, but that doesn’t mean he can’t have success as a relief pitcher for the rest of his career. If the Cubs can find a diamond in the rough with Miller, that will just give them another weapon to use moving forward. Baseball is a long season and the right-hander will give Chicago innings at some point, whether that be out of the rotation or the pen.

Miller was once a power pitcher that would use his fastball to blow hitters away. Once hitters started timing it up and hitting it, he started to lose his success. The development of this slider will help him become a better pitcher rather than just a hard thrower.

NEXT: Cubs let Bryant play injured again in 2020
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Miller still may not make the team, given the sheer number of guys in the mix for a bullpen spot and the relative depth of the rotation candidates, but he is doing his best to make sure he opens his eyes to get, if nothing else, a long, hard look from Chicago.