More than just good bats: A look at the Cubs MLB ready pitching prospects

Right now the hot topic of discussion among Cubs fans, and baseball fans everywhere, is the Cubs minor league system. Prospects that Cubs fans are hopefully watching every night (some maybe even more vigilantly than the actual Cubs team) are raking in runs left and right lately. But what seems to have been overshadowed in the wake of Kris Bryant home runs and Javier Baez's tremendous starts at second base are the Cubs pitching prospects.

As a result of the Samardzija/Hammel trade, the Cubs have work to to fill out a complete rotation. At the moment, they seem to be filling in the gaps.  They are bringing up some of their top starting pitching prospects to "test the waters", if you will. Let's do a quick overview of the top three pitchers who have made their debut this season.

Dallas Beeler

Dallas Beeler is no doubt one of my favorite minor leaguers to watch. With a 6-3 record at Iowa and a 3.56 ERA in 73 innings, he holds onto a 1.173 WHIP and has give up 5 homeruns. He made his debut for the Cubs earlier this season at home and started his second major league game on the road at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati. In those two starts he pitched a total of 11 innings,  allowing 10 hits and 4 earned runs - most of that damage coming during his July 9th start at Great American Ballpark. At home, he pitched 6 innings and dealt 6Ks while walking three, allowing one run and earning no runs. Pretty impressive for your first two major league starts, especially with one of them coming on the road.

Tsuyoshi Wada

At age 33, Tsuyoshi Wada made his first major league start just a few weeks ago with the Chicago Cubs. So it's not to say that he will become the Cubs next Yu Darvish or Masahiro Tanaka - though it is early to tell and his numbers are quite impressive already. In his one start that came on the road at the Great American Ballpark, he pitched 5 innings with 5 hits and allowed no earned runs. In his minor league days with Iowa, he has a 10-6 record with a 2.77 ERA in 113 innings, allowing just 13 homeruns with a 1.161 WHIP. Definitely something I would like to see more of for the Cubs at the major league level.

Kyle Hendricks

Probably the most interesting of the lot would be Kyle Hendricks. The Cubs staff seems to think so as well, recently announcing that they will call up Hendricks to give him a shot in the starting rotation. He will make his first home start at Wrigley Field on Tuesday night vs. the Padres. His opponent will be LHP Eric Stults, who currently owns a 4.98 ERA and has only pitched an outing longer than 6 innings twice this year, both occasions occurring at home in Petco Park. Hendricks on the other hand, is currently 10-5 with a 3.59 ERA at Iowa in 102 innings, and made his major league debut at Great American Ballpark just a couple of weeks ago. He pitched 6 innings and allowed 4 earned runs in a rocky start, but then regained his control and pitched his way to a Cubs win with 7Ks. I am very much looking forward to seeing more of him this season in the rotation and seeing how he fairs at the Friendly Confines. As long as he maintains his control, he will be a much needed addition to this Cubs rotation.

Cubs pitching is something that some fans are screaming for the organization to give some attention to at the major league level. Losing Samardzija and Hammel while relying on a struggling Edwin Jackson and more recently Travis Wood, doesn't exactly make for a pretty sight on the North Side - although the Cubs do still have Jake Arrieta to dote their praise upon. What most Cubs fans understand though, is that this picture isn't going to be perfect just yet. It's a long term process that needs to take some blows before becoming "workable".  Trying on some of these minor leaguers for size is a part of that process. Sure, there is some trade talk and lots of rumors that the Cubs may go for a big arm before the deadline or in the offseason, but I'm not sure that the front office is looking to invest in that area right at this moment. If you're remodeling your home, you have to knock some walls down to before you can rebuild it to become exactly the picture perfect sight you wanted it to be. Right now the Cubs are knocking those walls down, and they're starting with their pitching.

Filed under: Cubs, prospects


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  • Welcome Cat!

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    Welcome to the Den, Cat!

  • Lets hope that by Aug. 1 we can acquire more pitchers to add to
    our stock

  • Welcome as well Cat.

    I'm thinking that the 3 you list are obviously 'it' for the remainder of this season fighting it out for time in the #4 & #5 rotation spots - especially between Beeler and Wada. Both Beeler and Wada are 'interesting' guys, but both have flaws that will likely limit their upside.

    I personally love Beeler's story - 41st round pick who could manage to be relevant on somebody's roster for some time - even if not for the Cubs. As has been pointed out - he's got one 'good' pitch that will let him generate a lot of ground ball out when its on, but doesn't have a second quality pitch he can consistently use to miss bats.

    I could actually see some merit (the idea has been tossed about here occasionally) of going to a non-standard, 6 man rotation with these guys. Would let you keep Arrieta and Wood fresh by systematically limiting their innings for the 2nd half, would minimize the damage that Jackson's 'one bad inning' each outing could do, and would give the team a chance to see what each of Wada, Beeler and Hendricks could do with regular starts.

  • Here's hoping they do something serious this offseason with respect to the starting rotation--even if they have to overpay. A solid #1 or #2 type to go with Arrieta would make their remaining options more palatable, and why burn prospects in a trade when cash will do just as well?

  • I think they absolutely have to sign someone to be a TOR guy. Mad Max, Lester, or Shields.

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    In reply to cubsker:

    I think Scherzer makes the most sense. He's the youngest, and has by far the fewest innings on his arm. Shields is getting up there a bit - three years or so older than Scherzer.

    If the Cubs were to sign Scherzer for say, for 6 years and 160 million, use a couple prospects to bring back some more pitching, that would be a start.

    I know the idea of using a bunch of No. 2/3s to piece together a pitching staff is gaining in popularity over breaking the bank for an ace, but I don't think the Cubs should dilly dally around for two or three years to make that happen. Sign your No. 1 in Scherzer, acquire a No. 2 through trade, peg Arietta in at No. 3, Wood at No. 4 and the best of Hendricks & Co. at No. 5. Jackson, Wada, Beeler, etc. are the depth for now.

  • Welcome Cat, Two soild 2's for 2 years in FA seems like a good star for nowt. Make the all out push in 2017/18 when we really know what we need to win it all

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    Based on what I've read from Epstein they won't spend big on a SP until it's one of the last pieces needed to push into the post season.
    With the hitting on the way, more smart signings like they've done the last few years (under-valued guys Bosio can tweak) would be enough to contend. Difference is they wouldn't be selling the pitching in July, but instead buying/trading for that big TOR that would get them into the playoffs.
    I think it will be next July or 2015 off-season before we see the money flying.

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    In reply to AdolphoPhillips67:

    Perhaps the Edwin Jackson signing wasn't "big money" after all. The offers to Tanaka, Darvish, Sanchez and Ryu must be throw away money as well.... Hmmm Who knew?

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    In reply to bocabobby:

    The plan is fluid and Epstein/Hoyer have already basically admitted their mistake with Jackson. Given the present situation and how things are playing out within the system, I imagine they have adjusted the course. Looking back on previous interest or offers to FA's would tell you nothing about the current direction or state of the rebuild.

  • No love for Jokish or Rusin?

  • Jon Lester will be a Cub , He has already talked about Theo this year and the chance to be the #1 with the young hitters coming up backing him He has already said is an interesting opportunity . Cubs will make their big move on him if He stays healthy .

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    I agree, Lester will be a cub. He is the safest bet in terms of TOR stuff and ability to stay on the mound. Money is not a problem right now either. Our FO fell in love with EJax for similar reasons, given Lester is better.

  • "...lots of rumors that the Cubs may go for a big arm before the deadline..."

    Uh, where exactly are those rumors, Cat? Lots of them? This deadline?

  • The Cubs minor leagues have a ton of 3/4/5 starters coming down the lines. I would love to see Lester come in to the TOR with Arrieta following for the next few years.

  • I agree with most everyone else in that IF Lester (L) hits the market he will most certainly be pursued by the Cubs.....I hope that they also pursue Shields IF he hits the market as well. They can be added to Arrieta and of course we *currently* have Wood (L) and Jackson at the MLB level that are 4's/5's with the following knocking on the door:
    AAA (Iowa)
    Wada (L)
    Jokisch (L)
    And all of these pitchers in the pipeline:
    AA (Tennessee)
    A+ (Daytona)
    Dorris (L)
    Zastryzny (L)
    A- (KC)
    SS (Boise)
    Rookie (AZL)
    Steele (L)
    Sands (L)
    Thorpe (L)

    Have not pitched yet:
    Minch (Pitching in Cape Cod league)

  • Personally, I would love to see Neil Ramirez stretched out and given a shot to make the rotation. I think he could be the same kind of pitcher that Jeff Samardzija turned out to be. His stuff is legit and there are plenty of power bullpen arms in AA & AAA to take his place. I know at one time there were durability concerns when he was with the Rangers organization but I think the Cubs could have a solid 3, and maybe a #2 starter if they give him the opportunity.

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    Lester as our top of rotation starter puts a smile on my face,IF,he comes on board Theo's ship. Scherzer could also be a possibility.Both guys have been durable logging 30 + starts in multiple consecutive seasons. Scherzer at this point has over 400 innings less on his arm and is a year younger,just saying. I guess it all depends on who the brass loves the most.

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