Chicago Cubs: Is it too early to worry about the 2020 bullpen?

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
12 of 18
Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Mills is more than just the answer to a trivia question

The best case scenario for the 2020 bullpen is for prospects to step up and prove they are ready to be part of a big league bullpen.

Last year, Alec Mills started two games for the Cubs. His first start was a sparkling performance in which he only gave up one run in just under six innings. Mills’ second start was not as good, as he allowed four runs in five frames.

Adbert Alzolay was the Cubs’ top pitching prospect last year. He began last season at Triple-A. He seemed destine to get called up to the big leagues at some point, but his season ended early due to a lat injury.

However, nearly everything that was true about Alzolay last year is still true now. He might not be the team’s top pitching prospect any longer. That title arguably goes to Brailyn Marquez, but he is still in the lower levels of the minor league system. Alzolay was on the verge of making his big league debut last season and remains so now.

Alzolay is a starting pitcher. On another team he would be more likely to take a spot in the starting rotation than in the bullpen. If Cole Hamels pitches well this season the Cubs might bring him back in 2020. If Hamels doesn’t come back, Montgomery and Chatwood are under team control in 2020 too. So Alzolay might have to establish himself in the bullpen first and then look to move to the rotation.