Lou says the bullpen is an open competition this spring, which is a bit unusual.
Most clubs reserve bullpen spots for veterans only, but I like the competition.
Not only will spring games be more meaningful, but it appears the Cubs are committed to taking the best arms north for Opening Day–regardless of seniority.
One odds on favorite to make the staff is the Cubs’ first-round pick from 2008, right-hander Andrew Cashner–a Jonathan Papelbon like talent.
Last season the 23-year-old fireballer impressed while splitting time between Single-A Daytona and Double-A Tennessee.
One hundred innings pitched, 75 strikeouts and just one home run allowed!
The scouting reports on Cashner remind me of a younger Jonathan Papelbon–the potential to become either a high-end starting pitcher or dominating closer.
Control, however, has been the issue for Cashner, as is his lack of a true changeup to complement his mid-nineties fastball and devastating slider.
That aside, the reality of the Cubs’ complete lack of bullpen depth nearly guarantees Cashner an opportunity to begin the season with the big club, whether he continues to impress in Mesa or not.
Any club, obviously, would love the prospect of adding an Andrew Cashner-type talent this season, but relying on him to make it out of spring camp speaks volumes about the Cubs’ bullpen woes.