Chicago Cubs: A history of pitchers who could swing the bat
Chicago Cubs: Big Z was one of the best hitting pitchers in baseball for a number of years
It should be no surprise Carlos Zambrano is number one on this list. When Zambrano pitched, you knew the nine spot in the lineup was far from being an automatic out. The All-Star pitcher and switch hitter won three Silver Slugger awards as a Cub and is the franchise leader in home runs at 23. He hit four or more home runs in three different seasons with his career-high being six in 2006.
Zambrano had 708 plate appearances as a Cub, and he slashed .241/.251/.395 with a .646 OPS, 69 RBI and a 64 OPS+. His abilities got him several pinch-hit opportunities in games he did not pitch in, recording three pinch hits in 30 plate appearances. 2008 was arguably his best season at the plate when he recorded a career-high in hits (28) and slashed .337/.337/.554 with a .892 OPS, 14 RBI and 127 wRC+.
One could wonder what would happen if Zambrano returned to the majors as a DH. It was a topic of conversation for some time. Stretch his hitting abilities over a position player’s worth of at-bats in a season; it is easy to see him being a 15-20 home run hitter.
This list does not necessarily cover all the better-hitting pitchers for the Cubs the past century. Honorable mentions include Rick Sutcliffe, Jake Arrieta, Kerry Wood, Charlie Root and Greg Maddux. Hey, let’s not forget what Jon Lester has done the past few seasons, either. Probably not going to see much more if any Cubs pitchers are hitting.