Chicago Cubs: Justin Steele, SP – Tennessee Smokies
Drafted by the Cubs in 2014, Justin Steele is another young starting pitcher aiming to gain his chance. As a fifth-round selection, Steele has worked his way from Rookie-level ball up to Double-A, gaining significant experience along the way.
Steele has struggled through the first part of the season, so far pitching to a 7.71 ERA in his first seven starts. However, there have still been some glass-half-full parts to his season. For instance, Steele has increased his strikeout percentage from 16.7 to 20.2 percent from last season. He has also nearly doubled his ground ball rate from 27.6 last year to 46.6 percent this season.
While the start to his season has been up and down to this point, his last start was the best to date as the young hurler went five innings, giving up a single run, one walk, and four strikeouts. It is something Cubs fans hope Steele can build on moving forward.
Thankfully, he is still very young with time to continue to grow. There are many intriguing pitching prospects in the pipeline. Let us hope he can be apart of those top arms into the future.