Cubs, White Sox have high hopes for new season
With spring training for Major League Baseball just around the corner, the Chicago Cubs and White Sox are gearing up for the season. Both teams are heading into spring training with a good level of optimism.
One player the Cubs are excited about coming into the 2018 season is catcher Victor Caratini. The 24-year-old catcher was recently named one of the top 10 catching prospects by MLB Pipeline. Caratini saw some big league action last season, and hit a home run in the seventh inning of a tie game against the Milwaukee Brewers in late June. He played a total of 31 games in the big leagues last year.
During the rest of the year, he played Triple-A ball in Iowa and racked up 10 home runs and 27 doubles, finishing the season with a .342 batting average. Caratini could provide a solid backup for the Cubs behind the plate and he can also play first base if needed.
The Cubs have bolstered the pitching staff as well during the offseason, signing a number of pitchers during December. Joining the Cubs are Brandon Morrow, Tyler Chatwood, Drew Smyly and Steve Cishek. Morrow is a solid reliever who comes to Chicago from Los Angeles, where he recorded six wins with the Dodgers and finished the year with an ERA of 2.06.
The spring training season for the Cubs will get underway on Feb. 23 in Arizona when the Cubs take on the Milwaukee Brewers at Maryvale Baseball Park. The Cubs regular season will kick off on March 29, when the team travels to Florida to take on the Marlins. The Cubs home opener will come on April 9, when the Cubs face off against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
On the South Side of the city, the White Sox also have a highly rated catching prospect. Zach Collins was ranked ninth on the MLB Pipeline list of catching prospects. Collins, a left-handed hitter, was drafted by the Sox in 2016 and many have pegged him to be organizations future No. 1 catcher. The 23-year-old spent all of last year in the minors and started his year with the Class A Advanced Winston-Salem Dash and then moved up to the Double-A Birmingham Barons. Overall he had an on-base percentage of .370 and hit 19 home runs.
The White Sox are also optimistic about Eloy Jimenez, who started his career in the Cubs organization. Jimenez is a right fielder who possesses a lot of power at the plate. Last year, he hit a career-high 19 home runs and also recorded 65 RBI’s. He spent last year with three different teams playing in Class A Advanced and Double A. Overall he finished 2017 with a .312 batting average.
The White Sox will play its first game of spring training on Feb. 23, when the team takes on the Dodgers at Camelback Ranch in Arizona. The White Sox will open up the regular season on March 29 on the road against the Kansas City Royals. The Sox home opener is April 5 against the Detroit Tigers.