Look. You don’t want me to let you know that the final yr has left a long-lasting impression on not solely the sport of baseball, however the world, as an entire. In america alone, a half-million people have misplaced their lives to COVID-19, masks are as widespread as pants and distant work and studying is a brand new norm.
So it is sensible we’re all much more excited than regular to see the Chicago Cubs again at spring coaching in Arizona, mere days from their first sport. Slated for a full 162-game schedule after taking part in an abbreviated 60-game calendar in 2020, there will probably be baseball for the following seven months – a welcome sight to all.
Regardless of the abnormalities that met the crew each on and off the sector final season, Chicago got here away with the NL Central crown – followed by a prompt exit from the postseason at the hand of the surging Miami Marlins. From Supervisor David Ross to seasoned veterans like Anthony Rizzo – all people is in search of extra ‘normalcy’ this time round.
“It’s simply totally different and we’re such creatures of behavior,” Rizzo advised Marquee Sports Network. “In order that was undoubtedly a variable I personally take into once I have a look at all of the numbers – the great ones and the unhealthy ones – simply ensuring if you put all of it collectively. It’s not an excuse, however there’s a cause why it occurred and also you gotta just remember to’re getting forward of that so that you’re not falling behind.”
Though his struggles had been extra mitigated than a few of his teammates, Rizzo wasn’t his typical offensive self final yr. Nonetheless, he completed the yr as an above-average participant by way of each OPS+ and wRC+. He’s now heading into a contract year, so getting again to his 30/100-type output is extra essential than ever for the three-time All-Star.
Cubs know they’ll solely go so far as the core carries them
The 2 guys who want bounceback performances within the worst means are Rizzo’s fellow infielders Javier Baez and Kris Bryant, each of whom are additionally getting into their last yr of crew management. By most measures, Baez was the worst offensive participant in MLB final season and Bryant hasn’t been at 100% in what looks like years.
Now, it’s as much as each of these guys to return to type and lead a Cubs offense that ranked twenty first in OPS, twentieth in runs and 18th in on-base proportion final season.
“Particularly after such a novel season that was final yr, I believe numerous guys are trying ahead to hitting that reset button and going out and proving who they’re to all people,” Ross said this week at camp.