Chicago Cubs: Looking for internal solutions
A few guys on the current roster have starting experience.
Tyler Chatwood had a brutal introduction to the Cubs rotation in 2018, but he bounced back with a strong 2019 in which he also made a few spot starts.
There is no question about Chatwood’s stuff. Opponents barreled up the ball at under a three percent clip against the right-hander, which ranked in the top two percent of the league according to Baseball Savant. He can move the fastball in multiple directions, and he had a very tangible uptick in velocity and spin rate in 2019.
Can he continue to attack hitters? Chatwood slashed his walk rate considerably, but a 4.3 BB/9 is still not an ideal number if the Cubs elect to move him back into the rotation.
Alec Mills is another name to watch. Mills posted a 10.5 K/9 in 36 innings of work last season despite a lack of velocity. He has success peppering in breaking balls with a hard-biting sinker that he uses against both right- and left-handers.
The Cubs trusted Mills to make a start in the middle of a pennant race (against the Cardinals on Sept. 20), so it is hard to question his mental toughness. Will he be able to eat enough innings to warrant numerous starts in 2020?
Chatwood and Mills are the most immediate options, but Chicago’s brain trust might also like to see some of their young talent come through the ranks.