Three up, three down: Key Cubs' performances in the Cactus League

With so much talk about all of the key players the Cubs lost this winter, headed by Yu Darvish and Kyle Schwarber, little attention was paid to the newcomers.

Two of them are off to great starts in the Cactus League.

Here are three Cubs that are going good this spring, and three that are going bad:


Joc Pederson

Signed off the free-agent market a week before camp started, Pederson entered Saturday's play leading the major leagues in batting average (.579), on-base percentage (.636), slugging percentage (1.4747), OPS (2.111), hits (11) and extra-base hits (7).

The left fielder was tied for the lead with 9 RBI, and Pederson topped the Cubs with 5 home runs.

Zach Davies

Acquired from the Padres in the Darvish trade, Davies has not allowed a hit over 5 scoreless innings in 2 Cactus League starts.

The 28-year-old righty continued to build up Saturday in a "B" game, and Davies is looking like he's ready to fill the No. 2 spot in the Cubs' rotation behind Kyle Hendricks.

Nico Hoerner

He got the start at shortstop in Saturday's exhibition game against the Royals, but Hoerner is not going to take Javier Baez's job.

Second base looks like his spot, and Hoerner is doing everything he can this spring to fill the opening.

Even after going 0-for-2 with a walk vs. Kansas City, Hoerner is batting a sturdy .500 (9-for-18) in Cactus League play.


Craig Kimbrel

He's not in danger of losing his closer's job, but the veteran right-hander needs to pick it up over the final two weeks of spring training.

With a fastball that's been missing its usual zip, Kimbrell has been thumped in 3 relief outings and he's given up 9 earned runs on 7 hits and 2 walks over 2⅔ innings.

Adbert Alzolay

He came into camp with a legitimate opportunity to win a job at the back end of the starting rotation, but the 26-year-old righty hasn't been meeting the challenge.

Alzolay got the ball against the Royals Saturday and allowed 2 earned runs in 1⅔ innings. He's given up 7 earned runs in 4 innings this spring.

Jason Heyward

Entering season No. 6 on his eight-year, $184 million contract with the Cubs, the 31-year-old right fielder is one of the few hitters in camp that's been scuffling.

Heyward is batting .200/.294/.200 with 1 RBI in 7 games.

Nico Hoerner hits a double in a March 2 game against the Kansas City Royals in Mesa, Ariz. He just might get himself the second baseman job. Associated Press
Nico Hoerner warms up for a spring training game March 4 in Phoenix. He just might get himself the second baseman job. Associated Press
Could Craig Kimbrel lose his closing-reliever job? He has to stop giving up so many runs. Associated Press, Aug. 2020
Adbert Alzolay throws against the Kansas City Royals on March 2 in Mesa, Ariz. He's giving up too many runs to clinch a starting-rotation spot. Associated Press
Jason Heyward fields a fly out in 2020 spring training. In 2021, he's hitting just .200. Associated Press
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