Matt Szczur has a locker in between David DeJesus and Darwin Barney, a prime piece of real estate in the HoHoKam Stadium clubhouse.
DeJesus has the credibility that comes with 10 years in the big leagues. Barney wasn’t exactly a sure thing either coming up as a too-small, too-slow infielder. That helps to explain why Szczur is feeling more comfortable this spring.
Before the Cubs start making cuts and sending players down the street to Fitch Park, Szczur is going to soak up as much as he can. The learning curve accelerated as soon as the former Villanova football star accepted a $1.5 million signing bonus in January 2011 and stopped training for the NFL combine.
“I just try and pick everybody’s brain, so I can have my own approach,” Szczur said. “That’s the biggest thing for me. I feel like last year I didn’t talk to anybody. I just felt like I stayed inside myself. But this year I feel like I’ve been trying to get information.”
Two different administrations at Clark and Addison have used first-round picks on centerfielders who are on the radar: Brett Jackson (2009) and Albert Almora (2012).
Not to mention $30 million Cuban defector Jorge Soler – the corner outfielder who made his batting-practice shows must-see events – or all the other prospects team president Theo Epstein envisions being part of the scouting and player-development machine.
But that isn’t going to drive or motivate Szczur. The 23-year-old centerfielder sat in the chair in front of his locker on Tuesday and thought back to a conversation he had with a roommate last year.
“No, not at all,” Szczur said. “Just worry about yourself and that will take care of it. Because you should be friends with everybody on your team. Obviously, it’s competitive, but there are 29 other teams out there. You just got to play as best as you can and you’ll figure it out.”
Cubs: Szczur hoping to speed up the learning curve
CSN Chicago | Mar 6