Going on a power trip in Mesa
Spring Training numbers can usually be taken with a grain of salt. It’s a small sample size, pitchers may be restricted as to what they can throw and players often are facing opponents they have never seen before—and might never see again. But the way the Cubs’ offense is mashing 22 games into the spring, one would hope it can continue once the wins and losses start to count.
Through Thursday, the Cubs led all major league squads in extra-base hits and total bases and were second in home runs. They are slugging .470 as a team, good for fifth in the majors, and are seventh in the league with an .805 OPS.
Many have written off left fielder Alfonso Soriano after an average 2011 campaign, but he appears to have come to Mesa ready to play. In 31 at-bats, the 36-year-old has 11 hits, five homers and 11 RBI. He is one of 11 Cubs position players who has recorded at least 20 at-bats with an average of over .300.
Other pleasant surprises have been outfielder Joe Mather and second baseman Darwin Barney. Hoping to make the squad as the team’s fourth outfielder, Mather is hitting .421 in 38 at-bats and slugging .929 with three homers and 12 RBI. In 25 at-bats, Barney has 11 hits—five for doubles—and an on-base percentage of .462.
While it’s easy to chalk up these gaudy numbers to facing Spring Training pitching, this should give fans a glimmer of hope heading into April.