Walker Powell – Picture by Todd Johnson
Welcome to the penultimate off-season mail bag post which means after today there’s only one more mailbag left. We didn’t get to everybody’s questions this year and we apologize for that but it just was not enough time to get every Rule 5 question done in time or to discuss players the Cub bringing in for depth.
Over the past month, though, I’ve gotten to a lot of the questions and today we’re going to do four at once.
Yes. The players touch base with either a coach or a coordinator throughout the off-season. Some of the bigger named prospects spend most of the winter in Arizona getting ready for the new season. While it seems like baseball’s become a year-round thing, most of the off-season is spent working on either gaining weight or reshaping/strengthening certain muscle groups as well as proper nutrition. The players usually do some hitting or some throwing, but it’s very low in terms of its quantity.
Yohendrick was having a pretty good summer last year until he hit the latter part of July when he seemed to struggle the last six weeks of the season hitting under .200. He’ll probably be at Tennessee to start 2023. He’s going to have some intense competition for playing time. One thing he needs to stop doing is trying to do too much in the moment. While he did gain some power last year, he also sacrificed his natural tendency to go the other way in certain situations. He needs to get that back. In other words, a single to left is an acceptable outcome versus a strikeout or ground out to first.
Riley is probably a guy who could make some serious noise at Iowa this year. I wrote about him a few weeks ago.
But the guy I am leaning towards is Walker Powell who could surprise some people…again. He’s been gaining strength this winter. At 6-foot-8, he is very hard to square up because of the angle at which he throws. In addition to being rather tall, his arms are also a little bit longer than normal, which creates an extreme downward plane I really don’t know where he’s going to start the year. Based upon how we finished last year, I would say Iowa. The Cubs do have a lot of guys stacked up there but he’s going to pitch somewhere fairly soon.
This is probably the hardest question to answer because there are a lot of layers to it. Quintero was signed by the Cubs in 2019 and missed his debut season in 2020 because of the pandemic. He suffered a great personal loss in the winter of 2020-2021. He was unable to prepare for the 21 season because of said loss and he was was not where he should be to be ready to play. It always seems like he’s been behind a little bit and the Cubs have not given up on him. So, he’s got that going for him.
Depending upon what he did this winter, we could either see him in extended spring training and then possibly Myrtle Beach later in the summer if he’s back on track. We could also see him back in Mesa for a third season. My best guess is he’ll be in Mesa to start the year and if he does well, he could get a bump to Myrtle Beach at some point. We still need to remember that he is just 20-years-old and will be all season long. He will not turn 21 until next November. In other words, he’s still a pup.