Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

Inbox: Will youngsters handle added heat?

Beat reporter Carrie Muskat answers fans' questions
MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

Do you have a question about the Cubs? Send it to CubsInbox@gmail.com, and please include your full name and hometown.

Do you think the added pressure on the youngsters with all these "glowing" predictions by so-called experts will adversely affect their performance this year?
-- Earl S., Virginia, Ill.

Do you have a question about the Cubs? Send it to CubsInbox@gmail.com, and please include your full name and hometown.

Do you think the added pressure on the youngsters with all these "glowing" predictions by so-called experts will adversely affect their performance this year?
-- Earl S., Virginia, Ill.

Not at all, because, to be honest, most of the players are oblivious to all the preseason hoopla. Cubs executives don't sound worried.

:: Submit a question to the Cubs Inbox ::

"In general, our young players are really mature, really grounded and are in it for the right reasons," Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said. "They've experienced a lot already in their young careers, and I think that will help them avoid the 'sophomore slump' and help them adjust to playing with some greater expectations on their shoulders, both as individuals after their seasons last year, and as a team given what they accomplished last year. We're aware of the new expectations this year and how a team might respond, but we're not concerned about it because we really trust the makeup of these players, both individually and as a group."

Video: Bryant talks about winning Rookie of the Year

During the Cubs Convention last month, I asked Kris Bryant if he was worried about a sophomore jinx.

"I don't believe in it," Bryant said. "I think any time you have a bad year, it's a result of something you did during the year that didn't help you. That phrase is kind of silly to me. I'm ready to go. I'm truly just focused on the team -- I could care less about what I do this year. We have a really good team this year, and I think we have a chance to go really far."

How come in all the talk about the Cubs' prospects, nobody is mentioning Chesny Young? He's been pretty good in his Minor League career so far. He hit .327 in 2014, and this past year, he hit .320. What's keeping his name from recognition?
-- William P., Schaumburg, Ill.

Young most likely isn't included because there's so much depth in the Cubs' organization. The goal for Young this year will be the same as last season -- play him every day, which is part of the reason he's played everywhere except pitcher and catcher. The Cubs' 14th-round pick in 2014, Young has a career .321 Minor League batting average. He has one home run in 174 Minor League games (669 at-bats), but Cubs player development director Jaron Madison wasn't too concerned about the lack of power.

Video: Six Cubs make the top 100 prospects list

"He just has to be a little more consistent driving the ball with doubles," Madison said. "He can run and he does have speed. If he increases his extra-base power without necessarily becoming a home run hitter -- because he's not going to be that type of a guy, he's not built for that -- but just keeps making hard, consistent contact in at-bats, that's all that matters."

Young, 23, will open at either Class A Myrtle Beach or Double-A Tennessee this year. The jump to Double-A is one of the toughest, Madison said.

"He has the ability to be an everyday player," Madison said. "As he goes to Double-A, we'll find out if the bat continues to progress along with the rest of the tools and the package."

My wife and I are heading to Cubs Spring Training for the first time. Any advice on sources of information -- such things as practice times are what I'm interested in. I have tickets to two games, but love watching practices as well.
-- Mikel R., Elkhart, Ind.

Spring workouts usually start with a team stretch around 9:30 a.m. Arizona time, although pitchers and catchers often have side sessions earlier than that. If you come early, you might see one of the coaches working with the infielders, as well. A lot of people like to watch the Minor Leaguers practice on the four fields south of the Cubs complex, which has a good parking lot (although, Javier Baez's homers have broken a couple of car windows there). Bring sunscreen and wear comfortable shoes. You can check the Cubs' website for more spring information: http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/chc/mesa/

A lot has been said about the Cubs' new clubhouse. Have they done anything to the visitors' clubhouse at Wrigley Field? I heard it was small and not nice at all. The visitors should be made welcome.
-- Frank C., Harvard, Ill.

Yes, the visitor's clubhouse is small, and no major changes were done this year. Part of the Wrigley Field remodel plan involves adding batting cages there and making it larger. I'd have to disagree with you as far as making visitors feel comfortable at Wrigley. Shouldn't the Cubs have a home-field advantage?

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

 

Chicago Cubs, Javier Baez, Kris Bryant