The Chicago Cubs are gearing up for the 2018 MLB season, which means that spring training is upon us and we are finally seeing the sport we know and love once again. After losing to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS, the Cubs couldn’t wait for the 2018 season.
Joe Maddon and company were the talk of baseball at this time last year. They were able to snap their 108-year curse and win the World Series and were favored to make it back-to-back titles. Obviously, they were unable to make that happen, but the Cubs are very confident that they have a good chance to get back to the World Series this season.
Theo Epstein has had a busy offseason. His most recent move was to sign star pitcher Yu Darvish to a huge contract. It was a bittersweet move for the Cubs, as Darvish’s addition means that Jake Arrieta won’t be coming back home barring a major turn of events.
Looking ahead at spring training this season, there are quite a few situations that fans will want to keep an eye on. Chicago is expected to be one of the best teams in baseball once again, but there are some questions that need to be answered before they will be able to do that.
All of that being said, what three things should fans keep their eyes on, in particular, heading into spring training?
Can Albert Almora Make the Leap The Cubs Need?
Albert Almora is expected to become an everyday player for the Cubs this season and the team needs to see improvement from him in 2018. He finished the 2017 season with a 0.298 batting average to go along with eight home runs and 46 RBI’s in limited playing time. It will be interesting to see how he looks in spring training and whether or not he gives the Cubs confidence in him being an integral part of the lineup.
How Does Yu Darvish Look?
No Cubs article can be written right now without talking about the new addition to the rotation. Darvish has been a star throughout his career in the majors and is expected to be one for the Cubs as well. There have been some that think his contract was a mistake, but he will have an early chance to silence his critics.
Is Kyle Schwarber Ready To Become A Star?
Over the past few seasons, Kyle Schwarber has become a fan favorite in Chicago. He has also been viewed as a potential superstar around the league but has yet to put everything together. Schwarber put a lot of work in this summer and Cubs’ fans should be excited to see how he looks this spring.
Will Tyler Chatwood Hold On To The Final Starting Spot?
Chicago is hoping that Tyler Chatwood, who was signed in free agency, will be able to fill a spot in the starting rotation. Chatwood is one of the bigger question marks that the Cubs have at this point in time. Having a strong spring training is a must for Chatwood if he wants to hold on to the final starting spot ahead of left-handed reliever Mike Montgomery.