Cubs Spring Training Mega-Preview: Jeff Stevens

(Of the three prospects the Cubs got in return for (Mark) DeRosa, 25-year-old 6'2" 205lb righty reliever Jeff Stevens is by far the most equipped and ready to make an impact on the ballclub now.) From scouting report at time of the trade.

If only scouting reports were law when it came to production. Today's mega-preview looks at Jeff Stevens, now 27, who is still fighting for a spot in the Cubs pen two years after being dealt from the Indians.   

The battle for the last two bullpen spots should be interesting this year with Jeff Samardijza, Thomas Diamond, Stevens, John Grabow and Jeff Russell to name a few. Two of these guys will make the team. Join in after the jump to weigh in on Jeff's chances of making the roster.

Stevens came to the Cubs in the DeRosa deal with Chris Archer (Now a Ray) and John Gaub (who's still a Cub). I found a few reports that all said the same thing: Stevens was best suited to helping the Cubs the soonest. The problem with scouting reports is that they are not fact.

Stevens has pitched in each of the last two seasons for the big league club, but little results. In 2009, he threw 12 2/3 innings with a 7.11 ERA, and that didn't get much better with 2010's 17 2/3 innings with a 6.11 ERA. Stevens main problem has been with issuing free passes with the Cubs at the tune of 5.3 BB/9. That will get any reliever in trouble other than Carlos Marmol.

With that being said, Stevens does still have some upside. He's got a lively arm with a fastball in the low to mid 90's. Most scouts like his stuff, but he has to find a way to limit the walks if he ever wants to be a true factor in the bigs. In the minors, Stevens is striking out hitters at a solid 9.1 SO/9. If he can take that success over to the Northside, Stevens will probably stick around some this year for the Cubs.

Most likely, Stevens will start the year in Iowa until somebody gets released. Cough (John Grabow) Cough, or goes on the DL, Cough*Grabow*Cough.

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