Back end of Chicago Cubs’ bullpen will be lethal in 2017
By Tim Stebbins
With the acquisition of closer Wade Davis, the Chicago Cubs late-game bullpen will be quite strong in 2017.
When the Chicago Cubs acquired closer Aroldis Chapman last summer, many felt the team added the final piece to their championship puzzle. With Chapman closing games out, the Cubs late-inning relievers were expected to collectively shut opponents down.
While Chapman enjoyed success with the Cubs (26.2 IP, 1.01 ERA and 46 strikeouts), other Cubs’ relievers weren’t as lucky. Notably, both Hector Rondon and Pedro Strop suffered late-season injuries that hindered their performance. In addition, manager Joe Maddon lost trust in the pair through the postseason.
Enter 2017, where the Cubs not only have a new closer, but also a healthy bullpen full of hard-throwing arms. Between Davis, Rondon, Strop and Carl Edwards Jr., the Cubs have four relievers who frequently throw 95 MPH.
More from Chicago Cubs News
- Justin Steele has evolved into a frontline starter for the Cubs
- The future of first base is murky right now for the Cubs
- Legendary Pat Foley will finally call a Cubs game at Wrigley Field
- Cubs betting heavily that arms can carry them to their next championship
- 3 roster battles the Cubs will answer by the end of this season
The addition of Davis is intriguing for a variety of reasons:. For his career, he has a 0.84 ERA in the postseason; in 2014, 2015 and 2016, his regular season ERA was 1.00, 0.94 and 1.87. While these numbers are fantastic, Davis’ presence makes the bullpen stronger as a group.
In 2014 and 2015, Rondon’s ERA’s were a sparkling 2.42 and 1.67; in those two seasons, he had 29 and 30 saves, respectively. While Rondon excelled in the closer role, having him as a setup man makes the Cubs’ bullpen much more dangerous.
Not only is Rondon healthy entering the 2017 season, but so is Strop. After tearing his left meniscus last summer, Strop wasn’t the same when he returned to the mound in September. Now that he is healthy, the Cubs should have their innings-eating, high energy reliever back.
Since joining the Cubs in 2013, Strop’s ERA has been sub-3.00 every season with the ball club. In his only full seasons with the Cubs (2014 and 2015), Strop had been dominant. In both campaigns, he had at least 60.0 IP and 71 strikeouts.
With a three-headed monster of Strop, Rondon and Davis, the Cubs could hypothetically shorten any game. If the Cubs are leading entering the sixth or seventh inning, these three pitchers could end any hope of an opponent making a comeback.
Next: Morning Marquee: Hatred isn't the norm in Chicago
Between Strop, Rondon and Davis, the back end of the Cubs bullpen should be one of the MLB’s best in 2017. The team also had Edwards Jr. to throw into the mix, to make matters worse for opponents. If the Cubs offense can grab leads early in games, it might spell doom for any team’s chance at picking up a victory.