Monday, April 22, 2024

Miles Mastrobuoni Was The Most Surprising Opening Day Starter


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It was quite a shock on Thursday morning when Cubs fans saw Miles Mastrobuoni in the starting lineup at right field, filling in for injured Seiya Suzuki. With the Cubs having so much depth, especially in the outfield, it felt as though it was the most unpredictable start out of the ten positions. The question is now formed, what is the outfield going to look like going forward?

Mastrobuoni is far from a household name. For those who do not know, he was drafted in 2016 by the Rays, acquired by the Cubs in 2022 via trade, and up until this point, spent practically his entire career in the minors. After the news that Brennen Davis, Christopher Morel, and Nelson Velazquez were optioned to the Iowa Cubs, fans speculated that Patrick Wisdom or Trey Mancini would take the role in right field. Obviously, that was not the case and most fans are confused by the decision. He could not put up a decent showing, as he went hitless through three at-bats, but had a run scored.

Mastrobuoni had a hell of a Spring Training, but that being a small sample size considering he was rostered on Team Italy for the World Baseball Classic. In his small Spring Training stint of eight games, he was able to hit a .357 batting average and a .907 OPS. It is hard to believe that many people saw him play in spring and thought, “This guy is getting the Opening Day start for sure.” Especially when Spring Training breakout Edwin Rios saw an increasing role in the lineup, being tied for the team leader in home runs. At least in most of the fan’s predicted lineups, Rios figured he would be most likely to get the start over everyone else.

In terms of the future for the outfield, it will be quite simplified once Suzuki returns from the IL. Ian Happ, Cody Bellinger, and Seiya Suzuki should see most of the playing time, but the outfielders on the bench are what will be interesting to see. As stated earlier, many popular names were optioned to the minor leagues, yet Mastrobuoni beat everyone out for the starting role. What this could mean could be that Mastrobuoni will hold the fort down in the Wrigley Field dugout for the time being, obviously as long as the play is up to par. With the expectation and likelihood that Brennen Davis will see his Major League debut, that will add another level of competition and keep the pressure on Mastrobuoni to play to his peak ability to stay on the roster.

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Miles Mastrobuoni is not bad, but that is not what the purpose of this article is. Just his being viewed as the best available option within the organization to start on Opening Day took many fans aback and left quite a few of them confused. In no way should his Spring Training and WBC performances be ignored, as the whole purpose of Spring Training is to give everyone a chance to showcase their talents. Going forward, however, expect to see less of Mastrobuoni in the starting lineups.


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Apr 1, 2023 7:37 am

In the big picture of things, they won so it did not matter, as his presence did not impede their progress on the way to victory. So the fact that he played was irrelevant.

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