Chicago Cubs: Adbert Alzolay, SP
Fresh in at number five of the top 15 is Adbert Alzolay. Immediately making an impact last season in his major league debut, Alzolay quickly surfaced to the top as a fan favorite. His first appearance came on the edge of a Tyler Chatwood start, and it would become a special moment for Alzolay and Cubs fans alike.
In that debut appearance, Alzolay fired off four innings of one-run ball, racking up five strikeouts in the process. It made it equally exciting for Alzolay as he completed it at home and earned a win. Something the 24-year-old right-hander soon won’t forget.
Trying to build on the impressive debut, Alzolay made his very first major league start at home versus the Atlanta Braves. It would be a similar line for Alzolay as he finished off 4 2/3 innings of one-run ball, recording four strikeouts.
As is customary, however, Alzolay did experience his growing pains. His second start in a Cubs uniform came on the road versus the Pittsburgh Pirates. Let’s say that is a start he would like to forget quickly. The young hurler did show some promise, however, which is a boon for the Cubs heading into 2020.
Looking into those two starts combined, against New York and Atlanta, Alzolay did finish with a 2.03 ERA. The FIP and xFIP were extremely high, yet Alzolay did manage a respectable 26.5 percent strikeout rate, something he could continue to rise towards the thirty percent threshold.
There is a good chance Alzolay does see extended playing time in the bullpen next season. If he can continue to develop and build on his small victories, Alzolay will get his shot to start. Wouldn’t that be another fun twist to the 2020 season?