Chicago Cubs: These 10 players must have success this season

(Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
(Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Talk about a guy who’s the epitome of potential

Anyone who’s only familiarity with Carl Edwards Jr. ends with his Baseball Reference page likely wouldn’t understand the frustration most Cubs fans feel with the lanky right-hander.

We’re talking about a guy who pitched to a 2.60 ERA across 58 appearances last season, averaging 11.6 strikeouts per nine to go along with just 0.3 home runs per nine. But one number does pop out when you look at that page – his walk rate.

For the third time in four seasons, Edwards walked more than five batters per nine and those very control issues cost him – and the team – dearly down the stretch. Over much of the final month, when given the opportunity to rise up and deliver in a big moment, the righty folded under the pressure. You could see it in his body language, his delivery and, ultimately, the results.

In 11 appearances in September/October, his WHIP skyrocketed to 2.571 – courtesy of a staggering dozen walks in just seven innings of work. He actually walked more batters than he struck out (12-to-9) and lost all faith of Maddon by the end of the year.

For years, we’ve talked about how Edwards could put an end to the Cubs’ seemingly endless carousel of ninth-inning guys. But until he shows real consistency and the ability and toughness to come through with the game on the line, Chicago can’t possibly risk giving him a bigger role in the bullpen.