Cubs: Three pitching prospects join the 60-man player pool

Justin Steele/ Chicago Cubs (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Justin Steele/ Chicago Cubs (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs officially added pitchers Justin Steele, Jack Patterson, and Keegan Thompson to their 60-man player pool on Tuesday.

In a move Tuesday evening which brought their player pool up to 54, the Chicago Cubs tacked on three of their highest pitching prospects for the season. Lefties Justin Steele and Jack Patterson, as well as righty Keegan Thompson, will report to South Bend for now, but it’s easy to see any of these three making an impact with the team this year.

Steele, a prospect covered here for his potential to join the Chicago club, hasn’t put up the best numbers in the minors over the past two years, but he certainly has the stuff to do so. A mid-90s fastball, coupled with a plus curveball, makes him an interesting piece to consider out of the bullpen. Especially when considering the mixing and matching the Cubs may have to do to make a winning bullpen this season, Steele will no doubt be regarded as a robust lefty candidate to make the big league squad.

Yet another promising lefty, Patterson has thus far been able to find success at all levels of the Cubs organization he’s made it to. In 2019, he dominated in Myrtle Beach, but also put up substantial numbers in Tennessee and South Bend, leading to a 1.69 ERA across all levels. While not a top 25 prospect with the team, he’s shown plenty of potential throughout his career thus far and 2020 may provide him the perfect opportunity to make an impact in the majors.

Finally, there’s Thompson, who’s currently ranked as the 24th best prospect for the Cubs and arguably the most major league ready of the three. Fangraphs sees him as a solid fifth starter or swingman in the near future for the team, with his control being a significant upside. His career ERA in the minors so far is at a reliable 3.46. Still, his HR9 is particularly strong at 0.6, likely a result of his ability to locate the ball well and limit damaging mistakes.

Perhaps with Thompson, he could be utilized in the rotation if Tyler Chatwood, Alec Mills, or whoever fills the final two rotations spots throughout the season begins to struggle. After all, the team needs solid production from its rotation, and Jose Quintana’s injury has left it in an even shakier position than ever before.

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It was pretty much expected that the Chicago Cubs would add these players to the 60-man pool for pitching depth. Still, between Thompson’s control, Steele’s stuff, and Patterson’s overall dominance of the minors thus far, this group stands out as particularly talented, and 2020 may be their chance to break into the majors for the long term.