The recent success of KBO pitcher Eric Jokisch may lead him back to the Cubs.
A native of Springfield, Illinois, Jokisch was drafted in the 11th round in 2010 by the Chicago Cubs. The left-hander made his MLB-debut in 2014 for the Cubs and appeared in just four games. In those four contests, including one start, he worked to a 1.88 ERA in 14 1/3 innings, striking out 10 and walking four.
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The former Northwestern Wildcat spent the majority of his playing days in the minor leagues with the Cubs, Marlins, Diamondbacks and Athletics after his small sample size on the big league mound. Known as a “soft-tosser” Jokisch posted a 4.02 ERA with a 6.8 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in 570.2 IP combined with the Triple-A affiliates of those organizations.
In 2019, Jokisch found success after heading overseas to begin his career in the KBO. In two seasons the lefty posted a 2.66 ERA and 1.10 WHIP with the Kiwoom Heroes. Jokisch also claimed the league’s ERA title (2.16) this past season.
- Jokisch 2020 KBO Statistics: (26 games started) (12-6) 2.10 ERA 154 IP 136 H 14 BB 112 SO
Now 31 years old, Jokisch doesn’t exactly light up the radar gun, but his ability to get hitters out has drawn attention from MLB teams. Whether or not the Cubs want to bring back their former prospect remains to be seen.
Jokisch was originally drafted by former GM Jim Hendry, not the team’s current President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein. While he isn’t a homegrown product of the current regime, that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be considered for a chance to make the 2021 roster.
Most believe Epstein and Co. won’t be big spenders this upcoming offseason, which means Jokisch could match their price tag. The North Siders will be looking for a back-end of the rotation starter and another left-handed arm in the bullpen which is another box Jokisch checks off.
Jokisch is far from a big-name, game-changing type of acquisition, but he would be worth the gamble for a cheap price. Chicago seems likely to go with the quantity over quality option this winter, in hopes of having a few guys pan out and shoring up their depth in the staff.