Cubs liking prospects' attitudes, performance

Cubs liking prospects' attitudes, performance

MESA, Ariz. -- Jeff Samardzija is like Cubs fans. He can't wait to watch Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Albert Almora and Jorge Soler play.

"Even with all the attention they've been getting, they've really kept their heads on straight and kept their mouths shut," Samardzija said of the four top prospects.

Bryant made the most of his first Cactus League game when he homered in his first at-bat Friday against the Angels.

"He had a great at-bat," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. "A lot of those kids did. ... They showed well and we're glad that they showed well. It's obviously a confidence-building moment for all of them. Certainly Bryant put a charge into that particular pitch."

During his football days at Notre Dame, Samardzija watched top recruits report and be the center of attention.

"They seem like they're sponges and they want to learn," he said. "You combine that with real raw talent, usually you have something pretty special."

All four are expected to open the season in the Minor Leagues. If that's the case, why have them in big league camp? It's all part of the development process.

"It's more the arena, and just being in Major League camp and being around Major League players in this forum where they're gaining ground," Renteria said. "They're going to face somebody in the Minor Leagues who throws 95, 96 or 97 [mph]. It's not the skill set, it's actually the environment in which they're participating. I think that's what refreshing for them and this is the place where they'll ultimately be someday."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.