Cubs News: Giving key players their 2020 letter grades

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Many guys pitched out of the bullpen for the Cubs in 2020, so we will highlight the main ones.

Craig Kimbrel: D+

When the season began, the grades were a no-doubt F for Kimbrel. It was historically bad how he was pitching early on. However, his final 12 appearances, he pitched to a 1.69 ERA, struck out 22 batters, and walked six. He found his velocity again and was getting swings and misses too. The grade is still down because he overall was not relied on to close; let’s hope he’s truly trending upwards.

Jeremy Jeffress: B+

The veteran reliever got the job done this season as he put up a 1.54 ERA and 0.943 WHIP in 22 games. He did not miss many bats, and the walks were a wee bit high, but he got outs. Sadly things were not relatively as smooth later in the season, but overall an outstanding season for Jeffress.

Rowan Wick: B

The stuff was still pretty good, and the ERA and FIP were good at 3.12 and 2.67; he just was not entirely as consistent as last year, and ended up getting hurt at the end of the year. He still missed some bats and recorded 20 strikeouts in 17 1/3 innings.

Ryan Tepera: C+

This guy did an excellent job at recording strikeouts (13.5 K/9) and put up a 3.34 FIP in 21 games. Tepera, when he was on, threw some pretty nasty stuff. He had some walk issues and had a few rough outings, which saw his stats balloon a bit. Overall he was trustworthy.

Dan Winkler: C

Kind of like Tepera, the guy could miss bats and record strikeouts. He recorded 18 in 18 1/3 innings of work. 5.4 BB/9 was an issue, though. He got off to a rough start, but he did end up finishing the season with a 2.95 ERA. The grade might not reflect the ERA, as the FIP was up at 5.32 with walks home runs given up, but he still performed good enough to be called on.

Kyle Ryan: F

The velocity was down, and he got hit pretty hard. After having an excellent 2019 season for the Cubs, he struggled this year with a 5.17 ERA and 7.08 FIP.

Duane Underwood Jr: F 

Once a notable Cubs pitching prospect, it just has not worked out for Underwood Jr. It might be time to move on. Hopefully, he can find success in another environment.

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So to recap, 4 As, 4 Bs, 6 Cs, 4 Ds, 7 Fs. A majority of the grades were a C or lower. This is a team that won the division, but we all saw the holes and flaws in the team. Hopefully, a lot of this will be fixed for 2021.