Chicago Cubs: These three young arms could be difference-makers

(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Adbert Alzolay

Adbert Alzolay‘s stock has fallen slightly since last year. In 2017, he was the Chicago Cubs’ #3 prospect according to MLB.com, and in 2018 he was #2. Yet in 2019 he has slipped to #5. Still, when Alzolay made his big league debut this past year, it came with a lot of hype because he’s one of the few impact pitching prospects the Cubs have had over the past few years who appeared to be ready to contribute at the big league level.

The Cubs signed Alzloay as an amateur free agent late in 2012. The 24-year-old right-hander from Venezuela has taken a long track to the major leagues, slowly working his way up before putting together a nice 2017 between Single and Double-A ball, posting a combined 2.99 ERA. His ERA in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League for Triple-A Iowa was over 4.00 in 2018 and 2019, largely because he was walking more batters than previously. Yet walk and home run rates overall have been good throughout his minor league career.

Alzolay was called up in June and earned a win against the Mets on June 20, pitching in four innings of relief giving up just one run. He then had a decent start against the Braves on June 25, giving up one run in 4 2/3 innings. His next start against the Pirates, however, was a disaster, as he allowed seven runs and didn’t make it out of the third inning. He only made one more appearance in 2019, in September in relief.

Alzolay projects to eventually be a middle of the rotation starter. MLB.com reports that he has a good fastball and curveball but needs to work on his change-up. If the Cubs go into spring training with a spot open in the rotation, look for Alzolay to at least get a chance to show what he can do. If he has a good spring, he’ll at least be a bullpen option for Ross, if not a rotation piece.

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