Last season, right-hander Carl Edwards Jr. took a step in the wrong direction, spiraling out of control when it mattered most for the Chicago Cubs.
Now, the above statement tells you nothing you aren’t already aware of. The more important question, though, for the Chicago Cubs, is what caused their young hard-throwing reliever to flame out late in the season when they needed him at his best.
On the whole, looking at Carl Edwards Jr.‘s line from 2018 would hardly draw suspicion from anyone who didn’t see him pitch in the season’s final month. He put up a 2.60 ERA (2.93 FIP) and struck out 11.3 batters per nine in 58 appearances for manager Joe Maddon. You certainly can’t take that performance for granted given the injuries to guys like Brian Duensing, Pedro Strop and Brandon Morrow.
But it was in that final month of the season – with all three of these guys shelved or ineffective – that Edwards faltered. Instead of rising to the occasion and spearheading an overworked pen in need of a reliable arm outside of Steve Cishek, Jesse Chavez or Jorge De La Rosa, the lanky right-hander was seemingly unable to find the strike zone in any way, shape or form.
So instead of just talking about his struggles in a very high-level sense, let’s drill down into the numbers and see if we can figure out what went wrong for Edwards Jr. and what the Cubs can do to get him back on the right track in 2019.