The Chicago Cubs Rowan Wick has seemingly come out of nowhere to be a viable late-inning guy. He may get the chance to assume a more prominent role next season.
As recently as 2015, the Chicago Cubs Rowan Wick was a positional player in the St. Louis Cardinals organization. It’s true. And in Rookie and High-A ball, he was crushing it for the Cards. But he fell off, and the Cardinals left him with a decision. Be released or pitch. He pitched, and the Cubs are forever grateful for it.
Joe Maddon gave a little advice, something he has seen in his years of managing. Sometimes a pitcher gets thrown into the fire.
"“I’ve been in situations in the past where young pitchers – right about this time of the year, getting opportunity – with good stuff become somebody,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “So we’re going to find out.” h/t Sean Hammond, Northwest Herald"
And Wick has responded to the call. Earlier in the season, he was used in low-average Leverage Index. This month alone, he’s had four out of seven with a 1.00 aLI of higher (above-average.) He picked up his first save of his career, and will likely fill the seventh and eighth innings.
Wick has a mid-90’s fastball with some movement and a knucklecurve that can drop off the table. In 18 2/3 innings, he’s struck out 29 hitters. That’s good for a 10.1 SO9 ratio. And to piggyback on the aLI, the gmLI (When the reliever enters the game) is a 1.18. So he’s getting thrown to the wolves, and striking them out.
Wick might not be able to ‘move-up’ anymore this year, but he’s set to make a jump into higher-leverage spots next year. Now, as long as Craig Kimbrel is healthy? He’ll lock down the ninth. But with Steve Cishek, Pedro Strop and Brandon Kintzler about to hit free agency? He’s got an excellent chance to be something special for the Cubs bullpen.
He’s pitched 8 1/3 innings with the San Diego Padres and just 18 2/3 with the Cubs. So we need to temper our expectations. But as Maddon said, some guys with an opportunity become somebody. Maybe Wick could be that guy.
The bullpen has been a sore subject for a lot of teams. If the Chicago Cubs do decide to bring any the players as mentioned earlier back, it might not be in the same capacity as before. And to be honest, it’s time to part ways with Strop. He’s been great, but not this year. But that’s another story.