Chicago Cubs: These relievers haven’t inspired confidence this spring

Rowan Wick / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Rowan Wick / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
Rowan Wick / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Wick looking to build upon a breakout 2019 campaign

Last season, Rowan Wick seized the opportunity at hand, emerging as a late-inning weapon in the Cubs bullpen. The 27-year-old turned in a 2.82 FIP and 1.140 WHIP in 31 appearances spanning 33 1/3 innings of work. He showcased real swing-and-miss stuff and was one of the few guys you felt pretty good about, regardless of the situation.

So far this spring, that hasn’t been the case. In an admittedly limited sample size, Wick has struggled – but acknowledges he’s working on honing his craft rather than focusing on the numbers.

His fastball has been hit hard in Cactus League action. But he’s working on crafting his slider/cutter, hoping to add a legitimate third offering to his repertoire before Opening Day. He relied on a two-pitch mix in 2019: his fastball, which averaged 96 MPH and his curveball.

"“I’m still in between about it. It could still be two pitches,” Wick said. “I could use [it] to my advantage. I could throw one to lefties and one to righties. It’s not so much worrying about the shape. It’s just throwing it in certain situations and making it effective. Whatever it is that day, make it effective.”"

Looking at Chicago’s bullpen makeup with mere weeks until the regular season is set to open, Wick still seems to have the inside track on a high-leverage role. Kimbrel will get a long leash from Ross early in the year as closer. With Pedro Strop, Steve Cishek and Brandon Kintzler all departed via free agency, it’s on guys like Wick and left-hander Kyle Ryan to step up and hold down key spots in the mix.

"“I don’t put too much in stats here,” David Ross told “All the metrics seem to say he’s fine. So, we’ll just continue to let him go about his process and understand that you do have to prove yourself each and every year, right? You get to make the team on some merits of what you did last year and pitch in big innings.”"