Cubs hoping for a pleasant surprise when it comes to Shelby Miller

(Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images) /

Spring training is underway for the Chicago Cubs down in Arizona, and the regular season is rapidly approaching. With this in mind, it is hard not to be excited for what is to come for the Cubs in 2021. So far, spring training has been a feat, and though we are only less than halfway through exhibition games, there are many things to take away from the team’s performance.

Though there have been many interesting things to keep an eye on this spring training season, one of the most interesting is the race for the team’s fifth and final rotation spot. So far, ace Kyle Hendricks, Zach Davies, Jake Arrieta, and Trevor Williams appear to have their rotation spots locked down. However, the fifth spot is still up for grabs. Adbert Alzolay and Alec Mills are contenders for this spot, as expected. But, veteran Shelby Miller is another candidate that should be considered.

Shelby Miller’s versatility could be a valuable asset to the Chicago Cubs in 2021

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Looking back, Shelby Miller’s first two spring training outings showed that he is versatile and could be valuable to the north siders throughout the 2021 season. After receiving a non-roster invitation to spring training, Miller tossed an inning of relief last Monday. In this appearance, he worked himself out of trouble and did not give up any runs.

Last Saturday, Miller made a start against the Milwaukee Brewers. In this start, the 30-year old tossed two innings where he gave up two hits and one run while striking out three. Two of the three strikeouts came on a slider Miller has been working on improving this spring. The right-hander will probably be granted more appearances this spring and will be able to continue improving.

While Miller is among quite a few pitchers vying for the remaining rotation spot, he provides versatility, which cannot be said for all of those running. The veteran is entering his ninth season in the major leagues, and throughout his career, he has garnered a lot of valuable experience both starting and pitching relief.

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Miller was an All-Star starter when he was with the Atlanta Braves in 2015. This ended up being his last full major league season where he was not plagued by injuries. He underwent Tommy John surgery in 2017, and in 2019, Miller opted out of the 2020 season. If Miller can return to his 2015 form, he could be a valuable asset to the Chicago Cubs in 2021 and who knows, maybe he will claim that remaining starting rotation spot.