Reds prospect Travis Wood impresses in debut versus Cubs

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Travis Wood has boosted his prospect stock dramatically by posting great numbers in the minors since coming back from shoulder problems in 2008 and turned in an impressive debut yesterday against the Cubs, taking a shutout into the eighth inning.
He exited with two runners on base and they both scored off reliever Nick Masset, but the 23-year-old southpaw and former second-round pick certainly pitched well enough to at least remain in the rotation until Edinson Volquez returns from Tommy John elbow surgery.
Wood is far from an elite prospect and as a fly-ball pitcher Cincinnati’s ballpark isn’t an ideal fit, but the combination of a low-90s fastball with a strong cutter and changeup potentially makes him a mid-rotation starter long term. He had a 2.27 ERA and 232/76 K/BB ratio in 265.2 innings between Double-A and Triple-A since the beginning of last season.

Kyle Schwarber is “probably, arguably” in The Best Shape of His Life

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Joe Maddon just held his annual media availability here at the Winter Meetings. During the scrum he said that Kyle Schwarber “looked great the other day” at a Cubs community event and that . . . wait for it . . . “he’s in, probably, arguably in the best shape of his life.” Maddon went on to say that, if Schwarber looks good in spring training, he might even be the Cubs leadoff hitter in 2018.

Schwarber is only 24, but the former catcher turned outfielder is going to spend most of his career as a DH, with another team obviously, unless he shows the Cubs that he can be a regular defender. The Cubs would love to see him in better shape whether they keep him or shop him, and if it’s the latter, they’ll want to show potential trade partners that he can play defense so as not to limit his market. It’s in everyone’s interests for him to be lean, mean and a bit more flexible once spring training starts.

To that end, according to a recent report, Schwarber “has been on a mission this offseason to transform his body.” And now Maddon is playing up the BSOHL angle. Whether that’s salesmanship or not, all eyes are going to be on Schwarber come February.