Cubs: The case for Adbert Alzolay being a reliever
Despite Alzolay’s impressive numbers in the rotation, there are a few red flags that may make the Cubs believe there’s more sense in him being a reliever.
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First, Alzolay has yet to make a major league appearance longer than five innings at any point. He simply, as of now, can’t go deep into ball games which is never a good thing. Part of that can probably be attributed to Alzolay not being able to find the zone that easily yet.
He isn’t atrocious by any means, but 5.5 BB/9 as a starter isn’t good, and it’s an issue that may be easier to fix in some lower-leverage relief appearances rather than having to gut through it as a starter.
As I mentioned, Alzolay’s pitches also do have some real potential, with a running fastball that sits 96-98, a potent curveball and a decent third pitch change-up – stuff that would be great for a reliever. It may also simply just come down to Alzolay being the odd man out of the rotation. It’s more likely that Williams and Mills are slotted for the four and five spots in the rotation given their experience.
Whether Alzolay gets to be in the Cubs rotation or the bullpen remains to be seen, but it’s almost a certainty he’ll be contributing in some way for the team this year. I personally think he should at least start in the rotation because he’s shown flashes of being a good mid-rotation starter.
However I’d also be a fan of him being in the bullpen for a little while before going back to the rotation as he works out a few more kinks that may stop him from reaching his full potential. Either way, Cubs fans should expect Alzolay to be a member of the opening day roster, and hopefully a productive member at that.